BUTTE, MT - What makes a state patriotic?

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Though the answer may seem clear-cut and easy to answer, the truth is that everyone has their own version of what patriotism looks like—and it's usually different from what your version looks like. However, we hope we can all agree on a basic definition and concept. Patriotism has historically covered topics like military enlistment and veteran population, civic engagement, initiatives towards education, cultural and historical heritage and celebration, and, of course, pure national pride.

Think about each one of those topics and ideas. Where would you place Montana out of all the states on a list of most patriotic in the country?

If you saw Fox News recently, you would know that—over a broadcast within the past few days—they have placed Montana not only in the top 5 most patriotic states, but...well, take a look below.

Montana named most patriotic state in the U.S. Credit: Flathead 411/Facebook
Montana named most patriotic state in the U.S. Credit: Flathead 411/Facebook

Beating out New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, Alaska, and the other 45 states, Montana has been named the most patriotic state in the U.S. For many, this may be coming as quite a bit of a shock, as recent political trends and statewide issues have taken precedence over the concepts that make up a patriotic state. Well, they must have named Montana #1 for a reason, right? Let's investigate this further by examining those patriotic attributes listed above.

Military Enlistment and Veteran Population

Though the Department of Defense keeps military enlistment numbers private, it has been established that Montana military enlistment falls within 10% of the national average, with an estimated 255 troops serving in post-9/11 wars in 2019. That may not seem like a lot, but when that number is adjusted to the population size of Montana, the Treasure State ranks in the same category as California, Washington, and Ohio. When looking at veterans living in Montana, 8.9% of the adult population are veterans, which is higher than the national average of 6.2%.

Civic Engagement

Civic engagement is a vital indicator of patriotism. Civic engagement encompasses voter participation, volunteerism, and community involvement.

To start with voter participation, Montana had the highest percentage of voters out of any state in the 2020 Primary Elections with 45.7% of the population voting (the second highest being Colorado at 42.6%, respectively). When it came to volunteering and community involvement in 2021, Montana was ranked 9th in the U.S. for formal volunteering and ranked 1st for informal volunteering.

Educational Initiatives

Montana appears to excel in educational initiatives that promote patriotism. Schools across the state incorporate lessons on American history, civics, and the importance of national service. Programs like ROTC have been historically popular in many Montana high schools, encouraging young Montanans to consider military careers and understand the value of serving their country.

Cultural and Historical Heritage

It's no secret that not only is Montana positively rich in cultural and national history, but is very proud of the history baked in here, evident through monuments, museums, and historical sites scattered across the state. Even Butte is a town with a tight relationship to national pride and historic national success.


So, is Montana truly the most patriotic state as that Fox News broadcast claims? Based on military enlistment rates, veteran population, civic engagement, national pride, educational initiatives, and cultural heritage, it’s clear that Montana exemplifies many characteristics of patriotism. While patriotism is inherently subjective and multifaceted, Montana’s strong commitment to these values makes a compelling case for its top spot.

We'll have to go with a "true" for this one.

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