Analysis

Patriotic California? Well, sort of

Flags flown at houses along a southern California street. (Photo: Bill Chizek, via Shutterstock)

A financial advisory firm called WalletHub recently issued a study listing the states according to how patriotic they are.

Care to guess where California wound up? With July 4 loomimg, we thought we’d take a look.

We’re 44th out of the 50 states.

The rankings are based on point totals for “Military Engagement” and “Civic Engagement” made up of 13 indicators. They include a number of such things as each state’s share of enlisted military population, the share of adults who voted in the 2016 presidential election and AmeriCorps volunteers per capita. States were awarded point totals based on the study’s findings in each category, and the total determines each state’s ranking.

California ranks 48th in the number of military veterans per capita. We outranked only New York and New Jersey.

The data used in the study were gathered from a number of sources, including the U. S. Census, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Peace Corps and the Defense Manpower Data Center, among others. The data were then analyzed by a panel of college professors.

We are more patriotic than Connecticut, New York, Illinois, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Massachusetts, which ranked 50th.

The most patriotic state is Virginia, followed by Alaska, Wyoming, South Carolina, Idaho and Colorado.

According to one WalletHub criterion, California ranks 48th in the number of military veterans per capita. We outranked only New York and New Jersey.

Based on their point totals, red states are slightly more patriotic than blue states. Red states had an average ranking of 28.4, while blue states had an average ranking of 23.5. California’s rank was 36.66.

“Hispanic, Black, gay, whatever category. They need to go back to the drawing board.”

With some exceptions, such as Virginia, there seems to be a rough correlation between how urban a state is and its patriotic ranking. New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, for instance, ranked low, while Wyoming, Idaho and Alaska ranked high.

Retired Lt. Col. Peter Conaty, the American Legion’s man in the Capitol, doesn’t think much of the study.

“It struck me as very misleading,” he told Capitol Weekly in a telephone interview.“They’re comparing apples and oranges.

“We have more veterans than any other state. We lead the nation in every category of veteran,” Conaty said. “Hispanic, Black, gay, whatever category. They need to go back to the drawing board.”

The ranking is not likely to spur an attack of conscience across the Golden State.

With 23,000 soldiers and airmen, the California National Guard is the largest National Guard force in the nation.

Even a cursory check reveals that California has more than its share of military installations, ranging from Camp Pendleton, the huge marine base near San Diego, to the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in the Southern California’s high desert.

China Lake’s website declares:

“China Lake projects included development of the famed Sidewinder air-to-air missile, the Shrike anti-radiation missile, the Zuni rocket, a series of aircraft rockets, an entire family of free fall weapons, torpedoes and the TV-guided Walleye glide bomb. Additionally, the Polaris missile concepts were developed by NOTS weapons-planning teams, and the first submarine-launched ballistic missile motors were tested at China Lake.”

With 23,000 soldiers and airmen, the California National Guard is the largest National Guard force in the nation, as befits the most populous state.

California may not rank high in “patriotism” as defined in the WalletHub study, but we’re armed to the teeth. So there.

Ed’s Note: Chuck McFadden, a former reporter living in the Bay Area, is a regular contributor to Capitol Weekly.

 


Support for Capitol Weekly is Provided by: