It’s not every day that American citizens can claim their state as the most patriotic in the United States.
A new WalletHub survey revealed the top 20 patriotic states in America this year, and Montana came in first place with Alaska following in tail.
WalletHub, a personal finance website, discovered where Americans have the most red, white, and blue pride through data that compared all 50 states across 13 key indicators of patriotism. However, it focused on two key dimensions: military engagement and civic engagement.
Military engagement was based on average military enlistees, veteran population, active-duty military personnel, and share of civilian population in the military reserves.
Civic engagement was based on votes in 2020 presidential election, volunteer rate and hours, civic life, and civic education rates.
According to survey results, Montana won the most patriotic state title with the highest rate of 61.9% and was first in civic engagement. It was 22nd in military engagement.
“It’s a pretty cool feeling,” said Maj. Robert Allinson, public affairs officer for the Montana National Guard. “Knowing that we support our country, it’s nice that there’s recognition there.”
In his 18 years of service, Allinson claimed Montana as the most patriotic in his eyes. However, he always saw a sense of patriotic pride across the state since he was born and raised there.
“I think Montana is really just a community-driven place,” Allinson said. “I ended up joining right when the Iraq War was kind of surging.”
When Allinson attended college at the University of Montana, almost everyone he knew was either active-duty military or thinking about enlisting. Even his sister followed in his foot steps and joined the Air Force six months after he enlisted in the Montana National Guard.
Alaska followed as the most second patriotic state with a score of 56.64% and was first in military engagement, according to the survey results. It was 19th in civic engagement.
“I’ve been in the military for almost 28 years and have served in the Alaska Air National Guard for 20 years,” said Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead, director of public affairs for the Alaska National Guard. “Throughout my childhood and adult years, I’ve always experienced a strong sense of patriotism and seen the same pride for our state and country from others.”
Alaska is a fifth of the size of contiguous United States and houses nine military installations that span over 150,000 square miles of one another, according to Olmstead.
With that much of a military presence, it was no surprise the state would make the top 20 list in patriotism.
“We have about 50,000 military service members, families, and Department of Defense civilians who live in Alaska,” Olmstead said. “Combined with our retirees, veterans, and their families, we have about 271,000 Alaskans with military affiliation, which is nearly 37% of our overall citizen population.”
According to the survey results, Alaska has the most veterans out of the 50 states, and it also was the second in highest average of military enlistees.
Alaska’s military presence is undoubtedly strong, but Olmstead said it wasn’t the only aspect that gave Alaska its patriotic title.
The community support of Alaska’s military installations and the state’s cultural diversity helped maintain a strong sense of patriotic pride.
Growing up in Alaska, Olmstead said Alaska was best known for its diversity and has even made the first, second, and fourth most diverse high schools in the nation.
“I graduated from East High School, which is the most diverse in the country and has been for several years,” she said. “The patriotism was strong, the acceptance of others was organic, the friendships were diverse and the love of country was a given.”