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Minnesota ranks 49th for patriotism, ND tied for 36th; Minnesotans say ranking doesn't match love for America

Jack Nyberg1 / 3
Carina Emil2 / 3
Charlene Alto3 / 3

MOORHEAD – Hey, Minnesota.

Why don’t you love ’Merica more?

A new state ranking, whose accuracy we can debate while grilling hot dogs and setting off fireworks, declares that the Land of 10,000 Lakes is 49th out of the 50 states in terms of patriotism.

The only state having a harder time getting its red, white and blue flags to flutter is California, according to the rankings from Movoto Real Estate Blog, which advertises itself as the lighter side of real estate.

On Thursday, Minnesotans getting ready for Fourth of July festivities said Movoto’s ranking was No Goodo.

“I don’t think we’re in the top 10, but if I had to guess, I’d say we’d be in the teens or 20s,” said Jack Nyberg, who lives near Perley.

“We’re about hunting, and fishing, and being with the family. If they want to talk about the American dream, family is what it’s all about,” Nyberg said, as he sat on a bench at Moorhead’s Center Mall.

There’s plenty of patriotism visible, he said.

“There’s an awful lot of flags out there. We know where to get ’em,” Nyberg said.

Carina Emil of Hawley was loading up on ice outside Cash Wise in Moorhead.

“Really? I think they got it all wrong,” Emil said. “They need to go out to the Lakes. Boat parades. Fireworks. Oh, my gosh, they’re so wrong.”

North Dakota was tied at No. 36 in the rankings with Mississippi.

South Dakota earns a snappy salute, coming in tied at No. 14 with Texas and Washington.

The Top 10 most patriotic states are South Carolina at No. 1, followed by Maine, North Carolina, Wyoming, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Alaska, Alabama and Arizona.

Rounding out the bottom 10 are Rhode Island at No. 48, followed by Vermont, Hawaii, Michigan, New Jersey, Kansas, Connecticut and Oregon.

Movoto rated the states based on these criteria:

  • National historic landmarks per capita.
  • Veterans per capita.
  • Money spent to fund veterans.
  • Percentage of residents who voted in the last presidential election.
  • People who use Google to search for American flags to buy.
  • People who list America as an interest on Facebook.

Using information from the 2012 Census, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Google Trends, Facebook and Wikipedia, Movoto rated each state from one to 50 in each category, with one as the best possible score.

Movoto then averaged the scores into a “Big Deal Score.” The lower the Big Deal Score, the more patriotic your state.

Using that system, Minnesota smoked the competition when it came to voter turnout, coming in at No. 1. But it fell off in other areas: 24th in funding for vets, 40th in veterans per capita, 42nd in historic landmarks per capita, 46th in liking America on Facebook and 48th in Googling to buy American flags.

North Dakota was 21st in voting, but did better elsewhere. The Peace Garden State was 13th in liking the U.S. on Facebook, 22nd in historic landmarks, 27th in veterans per capita, 49th in funding for vets and 39th in Googling to buy U.S. flags.

“As a Minnesota resident, I see a lot of patriotism. I see a lot of Minnesota friendly,” said Lomumba Ismail of Moorhead.

Benny Peterson, a south Moorhead resident, doesn’t have a computer so he couldn’t pump up the state’s ratings online.

He’s old-school patriotic.

“We’ve never left a bill unpaid, never been on welfare. I’m strong for America,” Peterson said.

“I think outstate is very patriotic,” Peterson said. Other parts of the state may have dragged the rating down by being “pretty liberal,” he said.

But Charlene D. Alto said being progressive is also a face of patriotism.

“(Progressives are) proactive. … They’re open-minded. And that’s American,” Alto said.

The Scandinavians and Germans who came to this area didn’t raise their kids to make a show of patriotism, she said.

Her father was in the Navy during the Korean War era. Her father-in-law served on submarines for 20 years in the Navy. Her brother served four years in the Air Force.

“We serve here,” Alto said.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including education, Fargo city government, business and military affairs. He is currently The Forum's K-12 education reporter.

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