Is it popular to be a patriot? Simply put, being a patriot means supporting one’s country.

As America approaches its most patriotic holiday — which is also during a heated presidential election year this year — how many people will be proudly celebrating their citizenship in the United States?

Less than half (39%) of Americans would say they are “extremely” proud to be Americans, according to a survey taken a year ago by Statista. Twenty-eight percent identified as “moderately” proud, 7% were “only a little” and 4% of Americans were not at all proud.

Multiple surveys have found a year-over-year gradual decline in patriotism in the U.S., with a few exceptions, in the last two decades.

“The U.S. is neither a shining beacon of goodness nor a uniquely malignant force of oppression,” Richard Lloyd, an associate professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University, told WalletHub.What it is, is both a flawed experiment, whose imperfect founders brilliantly built a framework geared towards becoming less flawed — not perfect, but more perfect. And succeeding generations were conscripted to answer the call in pursuit of that project.”

In light of Independence Day, WalletHub surveyed which states outranked the rest when it came to patriotism under key indicators, including the number of military enlistees per state and the number of people who voted in the 2020 presidential election.

Top five most patriotic states according to WalletHub:

  1. Virginia.
  2. Alaska.
  3. Montana.
  4. Maine.
  5. Oregon.

Top five least patriotic states:

  1. Arkansas.
  2. New York.
  3. Massachusetts.
  4. Rhode Island.
  5. Florida.

Utah ranked 19th overall as the most patriotic state.

The survey also reported that blue states seemed to have more American pride than their red counterparts. However, different polls tell different stories. A Gallup survey published a year ago found that with patriotism at a record low, Republicans still expressed far greater pride in their country than Democrats or independents did.

Extreme pride in America by political party:

  • Republicans: 60%.
  • Democrats: 29%.
  • Independents: 33%.

Age also plays a role. “50% of U.S. adults aged 55 and older say they are extremely proud to be American, 40% of those aged 35 to 54, and 18% of 18- to 34-year-olds say the same.”

Perhaps it starts with what is being taught in public education or lack thereof, but younger generations, like Generation Z, who were born between 1999 and 2012, are more liberal than other generations were at the same age.

“History scores have been on the decline for a decade; civics scores had largely stayed flat until now,” Ingrid Jacques wrote in her opinion piece on USA Today. “Conservatives and liberals have very different ideas about how history and civics should be taught and what should be prioritized.”

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“Along with the decline in patriotism,” young Americans also have negative feelings towards America’s capitalist economy, Jacques added. “More than half of Gen Zers (54%) have a negative view of capitalism versus the 42% who favor the economic and political system.”

When it comes to teaching younger generations about what it means to fulfill their civic duties as an American, Sheri Parks, an associate professor of American studies at the University of Maryland at College Park, told WalletHub that young Americans need to learn about the optimism of the American spirit.

“Surveys suggest that we are losing our optimism, but that would be both a great shame and a self-defeating movement,” Parks told WalletHub. “We should be teaching our children to be Americans — the best of America — in the world. The U.S. still holds a unique position in the world. We are who we are because of that spirit.”

“This country is an amazing story. It has not always been good or easy, but there have always been good and brave people who survived and overcame. People in other countries see it — the American spirit is one of optimism, of ‘can-doism.’ Even in the face of horrendous odds, we have kept at it,” she added.

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