Credit: Documental38 via Reddit
By Ryan Hatch
This wasn’t easy.
Just kidding, yes it was. Ranking things without empirical data is, as you know, the most scientific way to do things. So that’s what we’ve done here. Below are all the state flags in the U.S., ranked based on whimsical research and fuzzy childhood memories.
These are our findings, and they are correct.
See, what we notice about the Maryland state flag, is…
*pukes on keyboard.”
Damnit, Nebraska. We went over this. You don’t draw a guy in a robe trying to smash through a tree stump, you just don’t. We asked a close friend, who hails from Lincoln, Nebraska, to describe the flag. Her response: “It’s blue, and it’s stupid.” She’s not wrong.
We would never condone flag burning, but, well…
47. New Jersey
Oh my God. And let’s not lose sight of what may or may not be a Confederate flag-inspired Santa Claus hat on the young lady’s walking stick.
46. New Hampshire
You know how you feel when you log into your bank’s website and see $41.76 in your checking account? You know how you feel when you Google search the New Hampshire flag?
Oh, Michigan, get over yourself. This is just a big-budget studio picture with a story that goes nowhere.
This is where we are on this one.
43. South Dakota
Would you rather stare into a microwave for eight minutes or at South Dakota’s flag for eight seconds?
Pennsylvania is no dark horse in this race.
Y’all, we get it. Do you really have to drive home the point that you’re 100 years behind the rest of the country? Oh. You do. Okay!
*Closes laptop, goes outside, sits in middle of street, cries into roadkill, eats roadkill.*
The stars, the big diamond they’re in, it’s all giving me a headache. This is better suited for a poster advertising the County Fair in Fayetteville, and then immediately thrown away.
Are we in Great Britain? Do we even have this correct?
Yup, just Wikipedia’d it. It’s right. We’re not sure what else to tell you.
We were about to make fun of “bears being in Missouri,” but apparently they actually are, so let’s just talk about how bored/fat these bears look. Ehh, nevermind, let’s not waste our time.
Why is Iowa tangling ribbon in eagles’ mouths and trying to kill them?
This is like when the professor’s T.A. has already graded 130 term papers and she gets to yours and can barely read anymore. She stares at it for 10 seconds to make sure it’s not in Chinese, gives it a passing grade, and she moves on. Nevermind that you missed the assignment entirely and had written about something wholly nonsensical. Your whole academic career then becomes a fraud, then your life does, and then you’re dead.
This is the Maine flag. Fraudulent and dead.
34. New York
Why is the woman on the right wearing a blindfold/Star Trek visor? Is it because she’s staring into that sun THAT HAS A FACE DRAWN ON IT?
33. North Dakota
“Okay, guys, open the clip art, grab the eagle, throw on any random thing you want on top of him, click send, and we can head home.”
United we stand, divided we fall. Kentucky has fallen. It needs a Derby horse put on its flag as soon as possible.
31. West Virginia
Well, it has miners, which is accurate, but is that a tombstone? Is it saying West Virginia died on June 20, 1863? Guess that wouldn’t have been the worst thing.
The deer up top works but it’s not appreciated enough; the rest of this overshadows him and is so uninspired. Vermont, this isn’t like you. Sup? You okay?
Utah, stop trying to be relevant; what, you want this to be the emblem on the side of the President’s armored car? This flag has nothing to do with your state. An eagle? INDUSTRY? Are you serious? You think no one else thought of eagles? Put up the arch, and be done with it.
No Elvis stuff, no Memphis stuff, no Volunteers logos…an absolute fail.
Georgia basically hijacked the United States flag but put an awkward twist on it. Who do y’all think you are? Texas? You are not Texas.
[Editor’s note: Per a reader’s note, we realized we had an outdated Georgia flag by mistake. It’s since been changed. Everything we wrote still applies.]
Oregon is the only state flag where there are two different sides, and it’s the beaver side that saves Oregon from a ‘bottom five’ ranking.
Here he is.
25. Rhode Island
Hope is so 2008.
Smack in the middle of this list because, well…it’s not BAD, but whatcha doing, ‘Vada? Did you mean to center that “Battle Born” image on the computer, but got bored and went to a $3.99 buffet on the Strip instead? We don’t blame you, but still, weak showing for an otherwise underrated state.
Well if you’re going to name your damn state after a person, you might as well put a picture of him on the flag. Is this fun? Are we having fun? Let’s just keep moving.
What are we looking at here, Wisconsin? Just like the Badgers are in every March Madness tournament, you might be OUTRAGEOUSLY overrated in this spot.
Pelicans are neat, but not really when they look a lot more like storks that deliver babies.
One of our writers lived in Indiana for about five years when he was younger and until two days ago, had no idea what the state flag was. It’s kinda cool, he guesses? Is this torch a subtle way of Hoosier folk suggesting that Indianapolis should host the Olympics? (Let’s not do this.) We’re not sure why it doesn’t just put a basketball on there.
We’re already gotten through 30 of these things, and they’re still coming up a little lame. Delaware’s only saving grace? It apparently can predict the future, knowing December 7 was going to be an important (infamous, even) date in United States history. (It was adopted in 1913.)
Eerily similar to a highly rated flag on this list, but it’s ruined with that yucky emblem in the middle. Less is more, always. Florida might as well have put this guy in the middle.
That eagle looks distressed and confused; it’s like Illinois and Iowa are committed to killing our country’s most famed bird. The flag is saved by that nice depiction of Lake Michigan and the sunrise in the background.
We’ve driven through the entirety of Kansas on I-70 like 23 collective times in our lives. We can promise you there are:
A) No mountains
B) No oceans with that size of boat
C) No buffalo (don’t get all fact-checky here; what we mean is there’re no buffalo like in front of your car on the way to the grocery, or at least not to the point where they need to be addressed on the state flag)
D) Absolutely no people still cutting up the land in the fashion depicted here
Oh, you’re going tell me that’s a steamship on the Kansas River? Nonsense. You’re embellishing, Kansas, and it’s upsetting.
That said, you get points for actually trying to pull a fast one on everyone. WE LIKE YOUR HUBRIS, KANSAS.
Virginia, you’re realllly pushing it with the whole “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan. YOUR STATE FLAG DEPICTS KILLING SOMEONE. That said, it’s kind of sweet, in a Gladiator way.
At first glance this is a horrible butt-cushion of a flag. But squint your eyes, and look at what’s going on here. You got a dude sporting what we’ll assume is a crooked Twins hat toiling the land; you got homegirl in the back riding dirty on some horse; and don’t miss the trees for the forest, or in this case, the flowers surrounding the emblem. We all need posters/tattoos of this.
We think a third grader drew this, and it’s silly-great. It’s sort of like where we picture most Gary Paulsen novels taking place. This is not a bad thing.
Does it really need to include “Oklahoma” at the bottom? As if you’d confuse it with any other state. Otherwise, pretty, Oklahoma.
11. North Carolina
Not quite able to crack the Top 10, NC still gets high marks for its simplicity, equality of color designations, and clear indication of important dates in the state’s history—May 20, 1775 (Mecklenburg Declaration) and April 12, 1776 (Halifax Resolves).
We can’t help but see a really possessed cardinal that’s been outfitted in ‘Merica! gear. Seriously, don’t you see it?
See! It’s glorious. Yay Ohio.
New Mexico’s western neighbor also knows how to capitalize on its sunsets and majestic sky. Arizona is meh in general, but hey, that ain’t the flag’s fault.
The “Republic” in there is hideous, but otherwise it’s lovely; a star hanging over a bear with Christmas colors splattered throughout? Done. A top 10 status on any flag list.
I STILL find myself looking for the Big Dipper before anything else in the nighttime sky. Of all the dippers, it’s the the best dipper, and Alaska knows this.
Wyoming has…fireworks and like, nothing else. Trust us, another one of our writers grew up 40 miles south of its border. But it does have a really good rodeo scene, and this George Strait song gets us (him) every time. This buffalo? It gets us every time, too. And c’mon, don’t disagree with the ranking just because you don’t like Wyoming.
Forget that it looks like a Chicago Cubs hat; instead, remember that time you and your family went on a ski trip to Breckenridge and you discovered there’s more to the natural world than the Jersey Shore.
4. New Mexico
We’ve been to New Mexico a lot. We like it there. Its dry air, enormous skies, and scorching sun turn some people off but for some reason we’re drawn to the arid, yellowish landscape. Their flag embodies all of this. Plus, W.W. is our shining star.
Yes, images of the Confederate flag are invoked here, but ‘Bama’s state legislature adopted this flag in 1895 (30 years after slavery was abolished), and we want to give it the benefit of the doubt. Don’t pretend you don’t want this hung above your bed.
It’s loud, obnoxious, and steals its entire concept from somewhere else. What’s more American than that?
1. South Carolina
South Carolina might have seceded from the Union; it might still do things like this; and it might let this guy be one of the state’s highest-paid public employees…but daggumit if the state doesn’t know how to build a flag.
We look at this flag and immediately imagine a slice of heaven. Perhaps we’re floating on a lake several miles outside Charleston on a warm fall day, a radio broadcast of a World Series game humming softly, and we’ve got a Pat Conroy novel juuuust hitting the midpoint.
No but seriously. What an insanely perfect flag. We’re going to move there.
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