Virginia was just ranked the most patriotic state in the entire country.When you think patriotism and love of country, does Virginia come to mind? Well, based on a new study published by WalletHub, Virginia takes the top spot as America's most patriotic state. To come up with a patriotism ranking, researchers looked at a state's military and civic engagement levels, providing equal weight for each. To measure a state's "military engagement," researchers looked at the number of military enlistees (those on active duty and in the reserves) and veterans who live in a given state. "Civic engagement" was determined by measuring how many adults in a state voted in last year's primary and general elections, what percentage of the population donates their time to charitable efforts (such as enrollment in the Peace Corps), civics education programs, and even a state population's trial and grand jury participation rates. One other interesting factor that researchers looked at to measure civic engagement was how often residents searched on Google for "American flags."
The researchers looked at the data and ranked Virginia as fifth in military engagement and tenth in civic engagement. That gave Virginia an aggregate patriotism score of 70.55, which was just enough to edge out Alaska (70.40). After that, Wyoming, South Carolina, and Colorado rounded out the top five most patriotic states. Virginia's high ranking in military engagement makes complete sense. The Commonwealth is home to dozens of military bases and facilities, and each branch of the military has at least one base in Virginia. But it isn't just active duty military personnel who are living in Virginia. The Old Dominion also ranks seventh in total number of veterans who call the state home and third in the number of veterans per capita. Virginia's high ranking in voter turnout and charitable contributions helps buoy the state's civic engagement ranking. Additionally, because of Virginia's proximity to the nation's capitol, many of the country's largest charities call Northern Virginia home. This is especially true for many charities that focus directly on serving veteran communities. As mentioned, Alaska was a close second in the patriotism rankings, coming in just 0.15 below Virginia's aggregate score. However, Alaska's high ranking came exclusively from their first place position in military engagement. On civic engagement, however, Alaska is ranked just 36th in the country. At the bottom of the rankings, New Jersey came in as the least patriotic state in the country. While New Jerseyans are just as civically engaged as Alaskans, the Garden State ranks 49th in military engagement. Only New York has a worse military engagement score than New Jersey. Illinois came in as the second least patriotic state in the country, scoring just 43rd in military engagement and dead-last in civic engagement. Overall, the more patriotic a state is, the higher the likelihood of that state voting Republican. The average Republican state ranks higher on the patriotism scale than states that vote almost exclusively for Democrats. Obviously, there are exceptions. For example, Washington (state) ranks sixth in the patriotism ranking and is reliably "blue."
Interestingly, the 16 swing and battleground states from the 2016 Presidential election (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin) were, on average, more patriotic than the average reliably-Republican state. Some of the researchers had hypothesized that there is a correlation between variables like socio-economics and how patriotic a population is. People on the lower end of the socio-economic ladder tend to vote less often and donate less to charity. Here are the top 10 states:
- South Carolina
- North Carolina