Maps show America's most and least 'patriotic' states

Credit: FindTheBest

With the Fourth of July comes flags, barbecues and fireworks (some more legal than others). 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.

Voter Participation in the 2012 Presidential Election | FindTheBest

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

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

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.

Percent of Residents Who Enlisted in the Military in 2013 | FindTheBest

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

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.

Percentage of the Populations that Volunteered in 2013 | FindTheBest

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

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

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.