COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – South Carolina is the 3rd most patriotic state in the nation, according to a new study by the personal-finance website WalletHub. Virginia is the most patriotic while New Jersey is 50th.
The study based its rankings on military engagement and civic engagement, with each counting for half a state’s total points.
Military engagement includes the percentage of residents who enlisted in the military in 2014, the number of veterans per 1,000 residents, the number of active-duty military personnel per 100,000 residents, and the percentage of residents in military reserves.
Brig. Gen. Van McCarty, a South Carolina native and Citadel graduate who’s now Deputy Adjutant General for the state, says he thinks the state’s patriotism stems from its roots in the founding of the nation. “The true citizen-soldier, the individual that left the farm, that left the plow and grabbed a musket, went off to serve, I think is embedded, a little bit, in all of us,” he says.
As deputy commander of the state’s National Guard, he says the Guard’s response last year to the record flooding in the state shows that patriotism and illustrates how it’s passed down through the generations. Guard members served for nearly 30 days across the state. “And I heard many soldiers say this type of event was why they joined the National Guard. They wanted to be able to give back to their neighbors,” he says.
The civic engagement part of the rankings includes the percentage of residents who voted in the 2012 presidential election, the percentage who voted in the 2016 primaries, how many volunteer hours each resident worked, and the number of Americorps and Peace Corps volunteers from each state.
It also included how much civics education is required in each state, a category for which South Carolina came in first in the nation.
You can see the report here.