World UFO Day: See how your state rates when it comes to sightings

Idaho and Montana are out of this world.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

Is your state a favorite with possible alien visitors?

Courtesy SatelliteInternet.com

Ever marveled at an unidentified flying object? UFOs seem to like some US states more than others, according to a recent analysis by SatelliteInternet.com, an internet-service comparison site. The report used information from the National UFO Reporting Center and the US Census to discover which states had the most reported UFO sightings per capita from 2019 to June 2020. And the results are just in time for World UFO Day, which is Thursday, July 2, a date selected because early July, 1947, was when mysterious metallic wreckage was found in Roswell, New Mexico, sparking a wave of interest in UFOs in the US.

UFOs may not make the news as much as they once did, but in 2019, Americans reported almost twice as many UFO sightings to the National UFO Reporting Center than the previous year -- jumping from 3,456 sightings in 2018 to 6,340 sightings in 2019. The analysis also notes that in the first three months of 2020, the number of UFO sightings was 112 percent higher than the first three months of 2019. Is anyone surprised that 2020 continues on its path of unprecedented events?

The study defines a UFO as "anything in the sky that can't be identified," noting that many are later identified as drones, satellites or weather balloons. But come on, there've got to be a few ETs out there, right? Fox Mulder wants to believe, and Helen Sharman, the first Brit in space, said in January that "aliens exist, there's no two ways about it."

A faked UFO photo created by a small-town newspaper in 1970 to illustrate extraterrestrial visitations.

A faked UFO photo created by a small-town newspaper in 1970 to illustrate extraterrestrial visitations.

Getty Images

Every state had some UFO sightings in 2019, but the mysterious objects seem to prefer northern states, with Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire and Maine topping the list. Coming in at No. 5 is New Mexico, keeping the Land of Enchantment's Roswell legacy alive. Idaho featured 9.18 sightings per 100,000 people, with Montana right behind at 9.17.

And while everything may be bigger in Texas, UFO sightings per capita are smaller. The Lone Star State reported the fewest number of UFO incidents per capita of all the states. Louisiana, New York, Maryland and Illinois are also at the bottom of the list for UFO sightings. In Texas, there were only 1.29 sightings reported per 100,000 people. Don't mess with Texas, aliens.

Here's the full list, in order from most UFO sightings per capita to least.

  1. Idaho
  2. Montana
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Maine
  5. New Mexico
  6. Vermont
  7. Wyoming
  8. Hawaii
  9. Washington
  10. Connecticut
  11. Oregon
  12. North Dakota
  13. Alaska
  14. Rhode Island
  15. Arizona
  16. Utah
  17. Colorado
  18. Nevada
  19. Indiana
  20. West Virginia
  21. Arkansas
  22. Wisconsin
  23. Minnesota
  24. South Carolina
  25. South Dakota
  26. Kentucky
  27. New Jersey
  28. Oklahoma
  29. Iowa
  30. Kansas
  31. Ohio
  32. Pennsylvania
  33. Delaware
  34. Missouri
  35. Virginia
  36. Florida
  37. Tennessee
  38. Nebraska
  39. Massachusetts
  40. Michigan
  41. North Carolina
  42. Georgia
  43. Mississippi
  44. Alabama
  45. California
  46. Illinois
  47. Maryland
  48. New York
  49. Louisiana
  50. Texas

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