Maps show America’s most and least ‘patriotic’ states

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Credit: FindTheBest

HARTFORD–With the Fourth of July comes flags, barbecues and fireworks. Americans stock their refrigerators with beer, grill a few dogs and gather with family and friends—remembering, all the while, that it’s all thanks to Lady Liberty.

The experts at FindTheHome aimed to determine which states are the “most patriotic.” While there are many ways to show patriotism, they started by measuring civic engagement.

Using data from Nonprofit Vote, a nonpartisan organization that aims to encourage voter participation, FindTheHome mapped the states with the highest voter turnout in the last presidential election.

A vote is a citizen’s voice in his or her own government—an opportunity to be heard and make positive change for the US. By this metric, Minnesota comes in first place with 75.2 percent voter turnout, followed by Colorado with 72.5 percent, Wisconsin with 72.2 percent and New Hampshire with 71.7 percent.

States that fall short in patriotism by this benchmark are Hawaii with 46.7 percent, West Virginia with 46.5 percent, Oklahoma with 48.8 percent, Texas with 49.8 percent and Arkansas with 50.7 percent.

But is driving to your polling place and filling in a few bubbles really the best measure of patriotism? What about military enlistment? Using the latest available state enlistment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, FindTheHome identified the states with the most military enlistments in 2013.

Georgia had the highest military enlistment per capita in 2013–0.75 percent–followed by South Carolina with 0.71 percent, Alaska  with 0.68 percent and Florida with 0.66 percent. The least patriotic states by this metric are California with 0.05 percent, North Dakota with 0.25 percent and Minnesota with 0.34 percent.

However, not every patriotic American has (or ever will) enlist in the military. Some citizens aren’t in favor of going to war as a measure of loyalty. Instead, volunteering within the country might be a good measure of patriotism—a way of giving back right here at home. Using data from the Corporation for National and Community Service, FindTheBest measured the percentage of residents in each state who volunteer and do favors for their neighbors.

Utah takes the cake in terms of community service: 44.6 percent of Utah residents volunteer, and a whopping 77.9 percent of them do favors for their neighbors. After Utah comes Idaho, where 36.4 percent volunteer, Minnesota with 36.3 percent, Kansas with 36.1 percent, Wisconsin with 35.1 percent, Nebraska with 34.8 percent and South Dakota with 34.7 percent. There seems to be a friendly trend in the Midwest.

Louisiana has the least number of volunteers per capita, where only 17.8 percent of residents volunteer, followed by New York with 19.7 percent, Nevada with 20.3 percent and Florida with 21.1 percent.

FindTheHome chose voter turnout, military enlistment and volunteering to be important factors that make up a patriotic state. Overall, Minnesota and Wisconsin are the only states that ranked highly in more than one category, which might signal that the residents of each state are America’s most dedicated, country-loving community-oriented people.