March 7, 2006

America, Venezuela noted for patriotism

Americans and Venezuelans are the most patriotic citizens in the world, according to a recently published survey of adults in 33 countries performed by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center (NORC).

The survey asked questions to determine general national pride. Subjects stated their level of agreement with statements such as, “I would rather be a citizen of my country than any other country in the world,” and “Generally speaking, my country is a better country than most countries.” A second category probed subjects’ pride on specific achievements made by their respective countries in areas such as science and technology, the arts, and sports.

In the general pride category, Venezuela scored highest, followed by the United States and Australia. In the specific achievements category, the United States scored highest, followed by Venezuela and Australia once more. The countries that scored lowest were Germany, Latvia, Sweden, Slovakia, Poland, Taiwan, France, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.

Tom Smith, director of the General Social Survey at NORC, believes that the history of a country has a lot to do with levels of national pride.

In an interview with the Chicago News Office, Smith pointed out that Venezuela and the U.S. are both comparatively new countries that were once colonies fighting for independence from their mother country.

“These countries formed their national identities through conflicts that bound their people together and created a national story that resonates with citizens,” Smith said.

Smith thinks that in more well established European countries, national pride may have gone out of style.

“It could be that those nations are experiencing a response to globalism, particularly among young people,” Smith said. “Many identify as much as being Europeans as they do as being citizens of their own country. In some European nations, the concept of strong patriotism also has negative connotations.”