Utah ranks 4th most patriotic state thanks to high number of volunteers, new study reveals

ST. GEORGE— A recent study ranked Utah as the 4th most patriotic state in the U.S. after receiving high scores for civic engagement and having the most volunteers of any state. 

A map showing the most and least patriotic states. Darker colored states are more patriotic and lighter colored states are less patriotic | Image courtesy of WalletHub, St. George News

The study was performed by WalletHub and looked at both civic engagement and military engagement in order to determine the most and least patriotic states. 

Utah was ranked number four after placing second in civic engagement and 38th in military engagement. New Hampshire was deemed the most patriotic state, while New Jersey came in last.

The study’s methodology for determining the most and least patriotic states was to evaluate each state by 13 relevant metrics. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, and the researchers determined each state’s weighted average across all metrics to find its overall score. 

To determine each state’s rank when it comes to military engagement, WalletHub looked at the number of people who enlist in the military, the number of veterans per capita, the number of active-duty military personnel per 100,000 civilian adults and the share of the adult population that are in military reserves. 

Utah had the fifth lowest number of veterans per capita, which contributed to its lower military engagement score. 

To determine civic engagement scores, researchers looked at the following metrics:

  • Number of adults who voted in both the 2016 presidential election and 2016 primary elections.
  • The volunteer rates and the number of volunteer hours per resident.
  • The number of AmeriCorps and Peace Corps volunteers per capita.
  • Trial and grand jury participation per civilian adult population.
  • The number of residents who participate in a group or organization.
  • The state’s civic education requirements.

Utah ranks first in the nation for number of volunteers, with 51% of the population volunteering for something, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service

While only 3% of Utahn’s volunteer for civic, political, professional or international efforts, any kind of volunteering can be a form of patriotism.

Kate Rubalcava, chief executive officer of the Utah Nonprofits Association, told St. George News she believed volunteering is very critical to how people engage and interact in their communities. 

“And Utahns, because of this strong connection to our communities, to our neighbors and to our country, I think that it’s just naturally interwoven in a way that you give back to your community, you engage with your community and you show pride for who you are, where you live, and the people in your community,” she said

In Utah, 1,152,208 volunteers contribute 133.9 million hours of service, which is worth an estimated $3.2 billion in labor. 

Rubalcava said that one of the reasons that Utah ranks so high in volunteering is because so much of the population donate their time through their religious organizations. 

A pie chart showing the percentage of Utahns who volunteer for different types of organizations | Image courtesy of the Corporation for National and Community Service, St. George News

The Corporation for National and Community Service found that 32% of volunteers in the U.S. worked with religious organizations, while 41% of Utah volunteers did so. 

Of these volunteers, 46% of Utahns tutor or teach, 43% mentor youth and 11% volunteer as an usher, greeter or minister. 

Other popular volunteer activities include collecting, preparing, distributing or serving food, engaging in general labor or providing transportation to others, collecting and distributing items other than food, and fundraising. 

In Southern Utah, residents have an even greater passion for volunteering, likely due to a sense of community found in the more rural communities, Rubalcava said. 

“Southern Utah folks are amazing. When I think the connectedness that happens in smaller communities and in some of our rural communities, it just sort of makes my heart swoon,” she said. “What I see is that people are just aware of one another … which directly connects to service because we’re all very interested in making sure that we can provide some sort of support to others.” 

Utah volunteers are also invested in sports, hobbies, and art and cultural activities, with 21% of Utahns volunteering for them.  

Email: mshoup@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @MikaylaShoup

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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