Metro-East News

Illinois ranked second-least patriotic state in nation

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Happy Fourth of July!

Maybe not to you though, Illinois.

WalletHub recently ranked Illinois the second-least patriotic state in the U.S., just ahead of New Jersey.

The personal finance website based its ranking on military engagement and civic engagement, both of which Illinois scored poorly on (the state was 50th in civic engagement). In the military section, Illinois ranked particularly low (45th) with the number of veterans per capita.

In 2015, Illinois had 727,919, or 3.5 percent, of the nation’s 21.4 million veterans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

For civic engagement, where Illinois ranked last, the ranking looked at the number of adults who voted, volunteered, joined the Peace Corps and participated in jury duty, among other things.

In the 2016 presidential election, around 63 percent of Illinois residents eligible to vote cast a ballot, according to the Election Project.

“The first characteristic (of a patriot) is a deeply held loyalty to the country, sometimes interpreted as nationalism, and a fierce pride in being American,” said Terry Madonna, Director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs.

Madonna said it’s important for schools to promote civic engagement, and for schools to teach American history and government.

So while you’re enjoying your July 4th barbecue, remember to keep those flags waving and those votes coming.