States with the Most UFO Sightings in 2020

Got your binoculars handy? July 2 is World UFO Day!

UFO sightings are on the radar these days thanks to the Pentagon’s official release of UFO videos. Last year, 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. 

Furthermore, in the first three months of 2020, the number of UFO sightings was 112% higher than the first three months of 2019. We’ll see how that trend continues throughout 2020—after all, this is the year the world fell apart.

UFO hotspots in the United States

So, how often are UFOs whizzing through your state? Check out this map that uses data from the National UFO Reporting Center to find out if your state is a hub of extraterrestrial activity.

According to the data, UFO hotspots include Idaho, Montana, and New Hampshire. Maine took the fourth spot, and New Mexico—home to the city of Roswell—took the fifth spot, rounding out the list of the top five states to see an alien.

What’s a UFO?

A UFO is anything in the sky that can’t be identified. In the late 1940s, the US Air Force started using the phrase “unidentified flying object” to describe any type of mysterious aircraft.

When we hear the word UFO, we might start thinking of flying saucers filled with green aliens. The truth is less exciting. Most UFOs are later identified as drones, satellites (including Starlink satellite trains), or weather balloons.

But even after decades of research, up to 5% of UFO reports remain unexplained. Is this proof of alien visitation? Or just an elaborate 60-year hoax?

Best states to spot a UFO

Every state had some UFO sightings last year—whether that was eerie lights, erratically moving aircraft, or mysterious metal saucers. But recent data shows the most UFO activity happens in the northern states of Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, and Maine. New Mexico is the outlier here, but with a long-standing history of UFO sightings, it’s not a surprise.

If you’re hoping to make an extraterrestrial friend or two, here are the best places to spot a UFO. 

States with the most UFO sightings

  1. Idaho
  2. Montana
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Maine
  5. New Mexico
  6. Vermont
  7. Wyoming
  8. Hawaii
  9. Washington
  10. Connecticut

Where you can hide from UFOs

Not everyone wants to see a UFO. If you’re scrambling to avoid an alien abduction, the safest place for you to live is in the South. 

For the second year in a row, Texans reported the fewest number of UFO incidents per capita than any other state. Other safe zones include Louisiana, New York, Maryland, and Illinois. 

We’re not sure why UFOs give Texans such a wide berth. Maybe aliens are scared off by the Don’t Mess with Texas attitude. 

States with the fewest UFO sightings

  1. Texas 
  2. Louisiana 
  3. New York
  4. Maryland
  5. Illinois
  6. California
  7. Alabama
  8. Mississippi
  9. Georgia
  10. North Carolina

Do you believe in aliens?

Surveys from Chapman University show that the belief in intelligent alien life is on the rise in recent years. In 2016, only 27% of Americans believed that aliens have visited our planet at some point in the ancient past. In 2020, an independent poll by Ipsos showed that 45% of Americans said that UFOs exist and have visited Earth.

UFO sightings by state

From Tic Tac–shaped objects flying over New York to swirling light balls in California, UFO sightings happen all over the country. This chart shows how many UFO sightings were reported in each state, how many sightings there were per 100,000 people, and the overall state rankings of where you’re most likely to spot a UFO.

Swipe left to see all →
StateTotal UFO sightingsSightings*Rank
New Hampshire1077.873
New Mexico1306.25
North Dakota364.7212
Rhode Island474.4414
West Virginia683.7920
South Carolina1563.0324
South Dakota262.9425
New Jersey2582.927
North Carolina2272.1641
New York3101.5948

*Per 100k people

Tips for newbie UFO hunters

If your idea of a UFO sighting comes from The X-Files or Doctor Who, you might expect trails of acidic green blood or alien spaceships cruising above the River Thames. The reality is most UFO sightings are less dramatic, such as a strange aircraft or odd light formations descending slowly into a forest.  

Planets are also sometimes mistaken for UFOs. You can get to know the stars and planets with apps like Sky Map, NASA, or Star Walk 2 so you don’t file a report on Venus. Another common error is mistaking a Starlink satellite chain for a UFO. Keep up on Starlink launches by checking out the satellite launch schedule, so you don’t make these newbie mistakes. 

What we do know is that UFO sightings are more frequent up north and during the warmer months. So pull out the lawn chairs, grab a friend and some cold drinks, and get to know the world at night. You might be surprised at what you see. The sky’s the limit!


To highlight the states with the most UFO sightings, we sourced data from the National UFO Reporting Center. Then, using state population data, we ranked each state based on the number of UFO sightings per 100,000 people from January 2019 to June 2020.

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