Newswise — People in the United States and Canada are among the most patriotic in the world, but for different reasons, according to a report from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.
Americans ranked highest in the survey in pride for their democratic system, their political influence in the world, their economy, their achievements in science and technology and their military. They ranked relatively low regarding their social security system and sports, as listed in the report, "National Pride in Specific Domains" by Tom W. Smith, Director of the General Social Survey at NORC.
Canadians rank higher regarding pride in their social security system and their treatment of different groups within their society than on any other dimensions. They ranked relatively low in their pride for their sports, arts and literature, military and history.
When asked if they would rather be a citizen of their country than any other in the world, people in the United States, were first in the world, with 75 percent strongly agreeing with the statement. The Canadians were sixth, with 56 percent strongly agreeing.
The report was based on a survey of people in 34 countries carried out by the International Social Survey Program. The United States led all of the countries in national pride on the domain specific measure and Canada came in sixth.
"Measures of domain-specific national pride help to illuminate national character by revealing not only the overall level of national pride, but also help identify what elements of society are objects of particular pride in each country," Smith said.
The survey measured feelings that are consistent over time and not subject to fluctuations brought on by changing political leadership, Smith said.
National pride serves as a resource to buttress people's fortitude during times of adversity, Smith said. Levels of pride in specific areas help shape dimensions of national identity such as how people define a true member of their national group.
People in the 34 countries were asked to rate how proud they were in their countries in ten different areas: the workings of their democratic system, political influence in the world, economic success, social security, science and technological achievements, sports, arts and literature, the military, history, and fair treatment of all groups in society.
The United States was first among the nations in five of the measures of individual pride: democracy, political influence, economy, science and technology, and military. In its top category, Canada was second in the world in its pride for fair treatments to all groups.
In the domain-specific category, a top score would be 1.0 if citizens rated their nation as number one in all catetories. Although Americans did not rate their country as number one in every catetory, the United States led in the domain-specific survey with an average rank of 3.6 followed by Venezuela (3.9), Ireland (6.9), South Africa (7.9), Australia (7.9) and Canada (9.6).
On a related report on general pride, people were asked if they would rather be a citizen in their country than in any other country, if the world would be a better place if people from other countries were more like them, and if they would support their country even if it is in the wrong. On that general pride measure, people in Venezuela had a score of 18.4 (out of a possible 25), while people in the United States had a score of 17.7. Other top leaders in that category were Australia (17.5), Austria (17.4), South Africa (17), Canada (17), Chile (17.1), New Zealand (16.6) and Israel (16.2).
The report showed some general patterns: former colonies and new nations had high levels of pride, while nations in Asia and countries in Europe, especially those in Eastern Europe, had lower levels of pride.
The report also showed that France ranked highest on national pride in its social security system, something that was also a source of pride for other Western European countries. Eastern European countries ranked relatively higher in their pride for sports than in most other dimensions, and nations with strong militaries, such as the U.S., Great Britain, Australia and Israel ranked relatively high in pride for their military.
In the United States, the National Science Foundation and the Smith Richardson Foundation supported the current survey.
Smith's other recent work on national pride is contained in the paper, "National Pride in Cross-national and Temporal Perspective," published in the International Journal of Public Opinion Research: http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/06/060301.nationalpride.pdf.