funeral in Vermont Since the beginning of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, soldiers from rural communities have made up a disproportionate share of the casualties, as young men and women seek opportunities in the military they don’t find at home.

"> Conflicts Continue to Claim Higher Share of Rural Residents - Daily Yonder

Conflicts Continue to Claim Higher Share of Rural Residents

funeral in Vermont Since the beginning of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, soldiers from rural communities have made up a disproportionate share of the casualties, as young men and women seek opportunities in the military they don't find at home.

Share This:

vermont funeral
Army Spc. Scott McLaughlin, 29, of Hardwick, Vermont, was killed Sept. 22, 2005 in Ramadi, Iraq. Mourners comforted each other at services for him October 1, 2005.
Photo: Associated Press

More American soldiers died in Iraq in 2007 than in any other year of the war — and rural America continues to pay a disproportionate share of the cost of the conflict there and in Afghanistan.

Yonder statisticians Robert Cushing and William O’Hare report that through October 30th an outsized share of the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to come from hometowns in rural counties. Young men and women from rural communities are disproportionately represented in the military, most likely because of higher unemployment in rural areas and lower levels of education. The military has reported that young people with few economic or educational options are more likely to enlist.

As a result, the more rural the state, the higher the rates of death in the two Middle East conflicts. The death rate for rural counties is 51 percent higher than for urban ones.

Nineteen percent of the country’s people live in rural America, but these places account for 26 percent of the casualties.

O’Hare and Cushing divided the number of casualties from rural and urban areas by the total military-age population (people 18 to 59 years old) to derive a “death rate” for each state, and for urban and rural portions of each state. Eight out of the ten states with the highest overall death rate had more casualties who hailed from rural counties than urban ones.

The ten states with the lowest death rates all had more urban casualties than rural ones.

The states with the highest death rates are little changed from when the Yonder last checked in May. Vermont, North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, Maine, Idaho and Arkansas have the highest death rates. (All but North Dakota, Wyoming and Arkansas had more rural residents than urban killed in the conflicts.) In May, Delaware was in this group and Arkansas wasn’t.

Below is a listing of all the states and their death rates. The states are ranked from the highest death rate (Vermont) to the lowest (New Jersey). The death rate is the number of casualties per million residents between the ages of 18 and 59. Rural is defined as all counties outside metropolitan statistical areas, as defined by the federal government.

  Total

  Outside Metropolitan Areas (Rural)

    Inside Metropolitan Areas (Urban)

 
  Number of Deaths

Death Rate

  Number of Deaths

Death Rate

  Number of Deaths

Death Rate

Vermont

19

47.3

  16

60.6

  3

21.9

North Dakota

18

44.9

  8

39.5

  10

50.4

Nebraska

46

42.4

  27

57.1

  19

31.1

Montana

24

41.0

  22

48.7

  2

15.0

South Dakota

19

40.2

  15

51.2

  4

22.3

Wyoming

13

39.9

  5

21.9

  8

81.7

Alaska

16

36.7

  11

43.4

  5

27.4

Maine

29

34.8

  15

30.4

  14

41.3

Idaho

30

34.5

  19

34.2

  11

35.0

Arkansas

57

34.0

  28

32.8

  29

35.2

Oregon

75

33.0

  35

55.7

  40

24.3

Oklahoma

68

31.1

  23

28.1

  45

32.9

Louisiana

84

29.7

  20

29.7

  64

29.7

New Mexico

35

29.6

  13

27.1

  22

31.3

Nevada

42

28.9

  8

49.2

  34

26.3

Mississippi

52

28.9

  37

31.1

  15

24.6

Delaware

15

28.8

  6

60.4

  9

21.4

Arizona

97

28.0

  20

45.1

  77

25.5

New Hampshire

23

27.6

  11

35.4

  12

22.9

Iowa

50

27.3

  30

31.5

  20

22.8

Kansas

46

27.0

  26

37.7

  20

19.7

Texas

382

27.0

  56

29.2

  326

26.6

West Virginia

30

26.7

  17

26.2

  13

27.3

Indiana

101

26.1

  31

30.1

  70

24.7

Kentucky

67

25.6

  35

26.4

  32

24.7

Alabama

71

25.2

  24

26.9

  47

24.4

Pennsylvania

191

25.1

  45

38.6

  146

22.7

Ohio

178

25.0

  36

26.9

  142

24.5

Wisconsin

86

24.7

  38

35.1

  48

20.0

Virginia

117

24.4

  21

21.4

  96

25.2

Hawaii

19

24.3

  4

17.8

  15

26.9

Michigan

151

23.9

  41

37.1

  110

21.1

Tennessee

89

23.8

  38

32.5

  51

19.9

Missouri

81

22.6

  38

34.2

  43

17.4

South Carolina

58

22.0

  17

22.7

  41

21.8

Maryland

76

21.5

  11

44.0

  65

19.8

Georgia

124

21.5

  46

28.0

  78

18.9

Washington

86

21.4

  16

25.1

  70

20.7

Colorado

62

20.7

  19

34.7

  43

17.5

California

455

20.1

  24

32.4

  431

19.7

North Carolina

106

19.7

  33

20.2

  73

19.5

Massachusetts

80

19.7

  0

0.0

  80

20.0

Illinois

150

18.8

  42

37.4

  108

15.8

Florida

190

18.5

  15

21.3

  175

18.3

Utah

27

17.9

  4

11.3

  23

19.9

Minnesota

57

17.5

  22

24.5

  35

14.9

DC

6

16.3

  0

na

  6

16.3

New York

185

15.3

  28

28.7

  157

14.1

Rhode Island

10

14.7

  2

37.9

  8

12.8

Connecticut

31

14.2

  4

20.8

  27

13.6

New Jersey

73

13.6

  NA

NA

  73

13.6

Total

4,197

22.8

  1,102

31.4

  3,095

20.8

 

x

News Briefs