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U.S. Patriotism is Flagging

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Fewer Americans are showing their colors these days.

A new survey finds 62 percent of Americans display the flag at home, in the office, or on their car. That's down from 75 percent in August 2002, a year after the 9/11 attacks.

Further, those who say they are "very patriotic" slipped from 56 percent in 2003 to 49 percent this year. Interestingly, the number of "very patriotic" Republicans dropped from 71 to 61 percent, while the change for Democrats was significantly less.

An analysis of the survey, conducted in December and January by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, was released today.

The results come in the same week as The Associated Press reported that black recruits by the military have plunged more than a third since 2001, in part due to pressure from relatives not to join.

The percentage of groups who say they display the flag, according to the Pew survey:

  • Whites: 67 percent
  • African Americans: 41 percent
  • Republicans: 73 percent
  • Democrats: 55 percent
  • Northeast residents: 69 percent
  • Westerners: 57 percent

A separate survey last year of 33 nations concluded that U.S. residents had the most pride over specific accomplishments, while Venezuela was the leader in general national pride. "These countries formed their national identities through conflicts that bound their people together and created a national story that resonates with citizens," said Tom Smith, who directed that survey, done by the National Opinion Research Center.

Robert Roy Britt
Rob was a writer and editor at Space.com starting in 1999. He served as managing editor of Live Science at its launch in 2004. He is now Chief Content Officer overseeing media properties for the sites’ parent company, Purch. Prior to joining the company, Rob was an editor at The Star-Ledger in New Jersey, and in 1998 he was founder and editor of the science news website ExploreZone. He has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in California.