The Heritage Foundation has a paper on who serves in the military, and it’s not who you would expect.
The things that surprised me:
- The numbers for the enlistees. I would expect most officers to come from middle class homes and upward, but it’s a surprise to hear that even those who enlist directly tend not to come from the lower incomes.
- Utah’s very low recruitment numbers. Utah is known for being fertile recruiting ground. But not the military? The best reason I can come up with for this is that at the time when most men are enlisting, they’re serving their missions. Then they get back, go to college, and and married. I think this messes with the general timeline of such things. On the other hand…
- North Dakota doesn’t have that excuse. North Dakota has the lowest enlistment numbers of any state (DC is lower, Utah is the second-lowest state). Why? I have no idea. I would have been sure that they would have been overrepresented. Particularly given that there is generally a lot of mobility in North Dakota. The state is gaining population, but most counties are losing. South Dakota and Nebraska also have lower numbers, although nowhere near as low as North Dakota’s. Interestingly enough, South Dakota has extraordinary representation in the ROTC.
- Also, Louisiana and Mississippi? What’s up with that? Louisiana is an entity unto itself, but what makes Mississippi so different from Arkansas and Alabama?
- I would have guessed that Hawaii would have been underrepresented, but instead were mildly overrepresented.
- Maine, of all states, is pretty significantly overrepresented in all three categories (enlistees, ROTC, and US Service Academies).
In the overall, the ROTC representation and particularly the Service Academy maps were surprising. With the exception of North Dakota and Louisiana, most of the above-mentioned underrepresented states are overrepresented when it comes to ROTC or service academies. Utah is mildly represented in ROTC AND USSA, South Dakota is wildly overrepresented in ROTC and moderately in USSA
Things that did not surprise me:
- The demographics (SES and otherwise) of those who serve in the military academies.
- That Arkansas, Texas, Montana, and New Mexico are well-represented in each category.
- Idaho and Wyoming are well-represented in at least two of the three categories (USSA being the third).
- Enrolees in the service academy tend to come from privileged backgrounds.