Younger Americans ‘Extremely Proud’ to Be American Drops 60% in Just 10 Years

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oregonmildep from Salem, Oregon, United States, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Americans are less patriotic, less proud, and less optimistic than ever. The proof is in the numbers, with poll after poll indicating an alarming downward trend across all age groups and demographics.

But a recent Gallup Poll shows the most jarring statistic. Among young adult Americans, the percentage that feels “extremely proud” to be an American has plummeted to the tune of over 60 percentage points. 

The numbers tell one piece of this story, while our current state of affairs, both culturally and within our government, tells the other piece – the ‘why’ behind these awful statistics. Let’s peek at the numbers and then dive into the brutal truth behind what is happening to our nation.

By the numbers

According to the recent Gallup Poll, 39% of adults are “extremely proud” to be American. Within those numbers, the poll found that Americans aged 55 and older were three times more likely to be extremely prideful of their country than younger adults.

The breakdown by age is as follows for adults “extremely proud” to be American:

  • 50% of those aged 55 and older
  • 40% of those between the ages of 35 and 54
  • 18% of those between the ages of 18 and 34

As if 18% wasn’t an alarming enough number for the young Americans running around hating the Red, White, and Blue, it looks even worse when compared to earlier numbers. In 2013, 85% of Americans between 18 and 29 were “extremely” or “very” proud to be American.

In ten years, the percentage of young adult Americans who are extremely proud of being American has taken a stark nosedive from over 80% to under 20%. Chew on that for a moment.

Like most statistics coming out this year that are depressing, the downward trend in patriotism has been steadily taking a free fall since 2005; it just so happens to be near record lows today. But this poll isn’t the only indicator of a nation with a bad case of national sads. 

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Depressing statistics

In March of this year, a poll found that only 38% of Americans consider patriotism “very important” in their lives. This number is down from 61% in 2019 and 70% in 1998.

In 2021 the Pew Research Center found that:

“roughly four-in-ten adults ages 18 to 29 (42%) say there are other countries that are better than the U.S.”

Clearly, these young guns haven’t been to some of the countries I had the displeasure to serve in when I was in the Air Force. But my favorite numbers come from last year’s Annenberg Public Policy Center annual survey.

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They found that only 47% of adults could name all three branches of our government. Additionally, less than 1 in 4 (24%) could name freedom of religion as one of the First Amendment freedoms. 

The Annenberg Public Policy Center director Kathleen Hall Jamieson gets to one of the root causes of our decline in patriotism:

“When it comes to civics, knowledge is power. It’s troubling that so few know what rights we’re guaranteed by the First Amendment. We are unlikely to cherish, protect, and exercise rights if we don’t know that we have them.”

Which brings me to my next set of statistics.

Don’t know much about history

The National Assessment of Educational Progress dropped a slew of depressing numbers in this year’s National Report Card. Relevant to this particular subject, they reported that only 14% of 8th graders are “proficient” in history, and only 22% are “proficient” in civics.

From a young age, we are failing our country and molding Americans who aren’t proud of the nation they live in. Not understanding our history, how our government works, how it was formed, and for what purposes directly leads to the decline in patriotism.

This problem feeds directly into other issues, such as the decrease in young Americans wanting to serve their country, a decline in Americans wanting to work, an increase in criminal activity, and an increase in overall feelings of depression and hopelessness.

As Senator Marsha Blackburn said:

“America is experiencing a crisis of confidence.”

Instead of teaching actual history and civics, the left-wing zealots who have pulled the puppet strings of our education system have been teaching revisionist history. And as the Senator called it, “action civics.”

We went from educating our youth on being active participants in their government to indoctrinating them into social justice warriors hell-bent on tearing the government down. 

Hard to feel proud of a country you are taught to hate from a young age. Hard to feel hopeful for the future when you are told there is nothing you can do to elevate your status if you are a minority.

Hard to feel proud of anything if you are taught that you are a part of an inherently racist country because of your skin color.

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A dog in the fight

Not surprisingly, the Gallup Poll did find that Republicans tend to be markedly more patriotic than Democrats. According to the poll, those who considered themselves “extremely proud” by political affiliation were as follows:

  • 60% of Republicans
  • 33% of independents
  • 29% of Democrats

The party that preaches negativity sells lies and wants to tell us we can’t achieve greatness without their intervention would naturally be less proud of a country built on the idea that anyone and everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Being proud to be an American, to have patriotism is born of something few Americans have these days – a willingness to self-sacrifice.

In a time when society, the government, and education system want to tell you that your own identity and your own truth matter more than reality and actual truth, there isn’t room for a concept such as self-sacrifice. To be willing to fight for one’s rights, country, and freedom is to be willing to sacrifice your own life. 

I’ll leave you with one last statistic. In 2021 the Pew Research Center found that 25% of adults over 40 have never been married compared to just 6% in 1980. 

This statistic correlates with a decrease in the number of children Americans have. Elon Musk once said recently:

“The childless have little stake in the future.”

I am indeed disappointed in aspects of our government, I am highly critical of our civilian and uniform leaders, and I am fearful of the direction our country could be heading. But my pride in being an American has always remained strong.

I have been all over the globe, and I can tell you on our worst days, we are still the best place to live, and this is the best place to raise a family. And my pride in my country keeps me fighting for it because I know the greatness we are capable of, and I have an obligation to my children to fight for my country until my last breath. 

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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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