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Spectators watch from the Queens borough of New York as fireworks are launched during the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show, July 4, 2021. (AP) Spectators watch from the Queens borough of New York as fireworks are launched during the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show, July 4, 2021. (AP)

Spectators watch from the Queens borough of New York as fireworks are launched during the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show, July 4, 2021. (AP)

Sofia Bliss-Carrascosa
By Sofia Bliss-Carrascosa June 28, 2023

Vivek Ramaswamy is partially right about patriotism decline among young Americans

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  • Recent polling shows declining numbers of adults of all ages who describe themselves as "very proud" to be American.

  • The polling shows that young Americans are consistently less patriotic than older ones, continuing a historical trend.

Polling shows that strong feelings of patriotism are at record lows

Vivek Ramaswamy, a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, said June 18 on "Fox News Sunday" that it is nonexistent among one age group. 

"Young Americans across this country are no longer proud to be American," said Ramaswamy, who, at 37 years old, is the first GOP candidate from the millennial generation. "I am."

When PolitiFact contacted Ramaswamy’s campaign for comment, it sent a link to a Jan. 10 story from the Daily Caller, a conservative website. The story’s headline said, "Only 16% Of Gen Z Adults Are Proud To Live In The US," citing a Morning Consult survey. 

We examined two polls, and a few findings were consistent: Strong feelings of patriotism have been declining since at least the early 2000s; and older generations are more patriotic than their younger counterparts. 

A March 2023 poll showed that 38% of all respondents consider patriotism to be a "very important" value, down from 61% in 2019 and 70% in 1998. It was conducted by The Wall Street Journal and NORC at the University of Chicago, a nonpartisan research organization. Among younger Americans, 23% of adults younger than 30 said patriotism was a "very important" value.

Similarly, a 2022 Gallup poll found that 38% of adult Americans were "extremely proud" to be Americans, down from 45% in 2019. And 25% of people ages 18 to 34 were "extremely proud" to be an American. 

In addition, the Pew Research Center reported in 2021 that "roughly four-in-ten adults ages 18 to 29 (42%) say there are other countries that are better than the U.S. — the highest share of any age group."

Strong national pride is low among younger generations, but a majority of young adults ages 18 to 34 still express some degree of national pride. Gallup’s 2022 poll found that 75% of young adults are at least "moderately proud" to be American.

Gallup Senior Editor Jeffrey Jones told PolitiFact there consistently has been a generational gap since his company began polling about national pride in 2001, and the gap has been increasing in recent years.

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"All age groups have been less patriotic the past six years than before that, but the declines have been larger among younger adults," Jones said. "As a result, the age gaps have gotten bigger, especially comparing 18- to 29-year-olds to those 50 and older."

Pinpointing what has caused the generational patriotism gap is an inexact science, Jones said. But "younger generations are growing up in an era where Americans have never been really happy with the state of the nation, and also at a time when there is declining trust in U.S. institutions."

Dr. Michael Genovese, president of Loyola Marymount University’s Global Policy Institute, told PolitiFact that the factors behind declining national pride trace back as far as the 1960s. 

"The decline in patriotism is linked to the decline in ‘trust’ in government," Genovese said.

He cited several events that contributed to the decline in trust, including the Vietnam War, which spanned from 1954 to 1975, the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s, the Iran-Contra scandal in the mid- to late 1980s, former President Bill Clinton’s 1998 impeachment and the Iraq war from 2003 to 2011. In combination with political division and hyperpartisanship, Genovese said, those things fractured Americans’ sense of nation.

Ramaswamy has promised to change voting laws if elected. His campaign promises include increasing the minimum voting age to 25, allowing people ages 18 to 24 to vote only if they demonstrate a commitment to civic duty by serving in the military, working in civil service or passing the civics test immigrants take to become U.S. citizens. Raising the voting age would require amending the U.S. Constitution, a high bar

Our ruling

Ramaswamy said, "Young Americans across this country are no longer proud to be American."

One recent poll shows that 23% of adults younger than 30 said they find patriotism to be very important. Another poll shows that 25% of those ages 18 to 34 were "extremely proud" to be an American. Data is not available for this demographic’s changes in poll responses over time, but Gallup’s Jones said the generational gap in patriotism has been increasing.

Still, young Americans surveyed express some degree of national pride, with 75% responding in one poll that they are "moderately proud" to be American.

The statement is partially accurate but leaves out the important details that a majority of young Americans expressed moderate pride during polling, and patriotism has declined across all age groups.

We rate Ramaswamy’s claim Half True.

Our Sources

Politico, Vivek Ramaswamy: ‘Call me a non-white nationalist’, June 6, 2023

Merriam-Webster, Patriotism Definition & Meaning, accessed June 22, 2023

Merriam-Webster, Nationalism Definition & Meaning, accessed June 22, 2023

The Wall Street Journal, America pulls back from values that once defined it, WSJ-NORC poll finds, March 27, 2023

Gallup, Record-low 38% extremely proud to be American, June 29, 2022

Politico, Vivek Ramaswamy wants to raise the voting age. Even his staff doesn’t like the idea, May 10, 2023

Vivek Ramaswamy, Tweet, May 11, 2023

Vivek Ramaswamy, Vivek Ramaswamy takes on CNN's Real Smerconish: Ukraine policy & voting age, May 15, 2023 

PolitiFact, 'View' host Sunny Hostin has scant evidence for claiming GOP wants to raise voting age to 28, Nov. 17, 2022

Email interview, Dr. Jeffrey Jones, senior editor at Gallup, June 23, 2022

Email interview, Dr. Michael A. Genovese, president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University, June 26, 2023

Statement from Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign, obtained June 27, 2023

The Daily Caller, POLL: Only 16% Of Gen Z adults are proud to live in the US, Jan. 10, 2023

Morning Consult, ​​For Gen Z, the future of corporate activism is local first, global second, Jan. 9, 2023

Pew Research, Younger Americans more likely to say other countries are better than U.S. | Pew Research Center, Dec. 12, 2021

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Vivek Ramaswamy is partially right about patriotism decline among young Americans

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