Florida one of America's least patriotic states: Study

A study found that Florida is one of America's least patriotic states, besting only three states for a ranking of 47th.

"Historically, one of the prime goals of the American education system has been to produce patriotic citizens," said Ohio Northern University history professor Russ Crawford of the WalletHub study's results. "In the latter part of the twentieth century, what constitutes being a patriotic citizen has become contested as part of the culture wars."

Perhaps no state has been more ingrained in the country's culture wars in recent years than Florida, with Gov. Ron DeSantis leading the state in often controversial directions on issues such as pandemic restrictions and the teaching of critical race theory in schools.

But Florida only bested New York, Arkansas, and Rhode Island in the WallhetHub study, which attempted to measure patriotism by comparing states by 13 indicators of patriotism.

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Florida ranked high in some categories that fell under "military engagement," coming in at 19th overall. But the state ranked low in categories that fell under "civic engagement," coming in at 49th overall.

Categories measured included military enlistees per capita, veterans per capita, active duty personnel, civilian adults serving in military reserve branches, share of adults voting in the 2020 presidential election, share of adults who voted in the 2020 primary election, volunteer rates, volunteer hours, Peace Corps volunteers, AmericaCorps volunteers, trial and grand-jury duty participation, share of residents who participate in civic organizations, and U.S. history/civics education requirements.

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Those metrics combined were used to rank states by total patriotism, with Alaska checking in as the nation's most patriotic state overall.

But the study acknowledged measuring patriotism can be tricky business, with Crawford offering his best definition of what makes one patriotic.

"A good patriot loves his or her country and supports it in the face of challenges," Crawford said. "That does not mean unquestioning love, but deep regard that motivates making one's nation the best it can be."

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