Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Largest Share of Army Recruits Come from Rural/Exurban America

03/02/2009

Tim Murphy/NPP This chart compares the recruitment rates in urban, exurban and rural counties.

Recruits joining the U.S. Army in 2008 disproportionately came from rural and exurban communities — especially from southern states.

Recruitment rates in rural and exurban counties across the United States were well above the national average. (See chart above.) In rural counties in Southern states, recruitment rates were more than 44% above the national average.

In contrast, the rate of people joining the U.S. Army from Northeastern cities was nearly 40% below the national average.

Rural Nevada counties had the highest Army recruitment rate among the rural counties in the 50 states in 2008, followed by Alabama and Florida. Rural Massachusetts had the lowest rate, followed by the rural portions of North Dakota and Utah.

Since the beginning of the Iraq War, various measures have shown that rural communities have contributed a disproportionate number of men and women to the military. (See Daily Yonder stories here, here and here.)  This new study is based on the hometowns reported by all those who joined the U.S. Army in 2008, data obtained by the National Priorities Project. The NPP’s report on the age, race, income and education of these new soldiers can be found here

Several reasons are offered for the large numbers of young people from rural and exurban communities who join the military. Studies conducted by the Department of Defense have consistently found that bad economies are a boon to military recruitment. When young people have few options — little chance for employment and no easy route to higher education — they are more likely to join the military. Unemployment rates are higher in rural America than in the cities.

In every region of the country, recruitment rates were higher in rural and exurban counties than in urban counties. Only urban counties in the South had recruitment rates above the national average. Cities in the Northeast, Midwest and West all had rates well below the national average.

Alabama sent the highest proportion of men and women to the Army, followed by Nevada, Georgia, Arizona and Texas. To see the rankings of all 50 states, go here.

The chart below lists the states according to the recruitment rate in their rural counties. (The rate is determined by the number of recruits divided by the total number of residents aged 15 to 24 years of age, multiplied by 1,000.)

To see the same information for states and their EXURBAN counties, go here. For URBAN counties, go here.

Tim Murphy/NPP This chart compares the recruitment rates in the rural counties of all states that have rural counties.

Below are the fifty counties with the highest rates of recruitment. You’ll notice that several of these counties have low populations, so even a small number of recruits will make for a large rate. Also, several of these counties are home to Army bases, such as Cumberland County, North Carolina (Fort Bragg, home of the 82nd Airborne Division); Bell County, Texas(Fort Hood, home of the 1st Cavalry and the 4th Infantry); and Liberty County, Georgia (Fort Stewart, home of the Third Army).

Tim Murphy/NPP These are the fifty U.S. counties with the highest rates of Army recruitment in 2008.

 

Comments

Is the military an escape or a means or showing patriotism?

Hasn't this long been true? If I remember, that was one of Norman Mailer's theses in Armies of the Night. The United States has long relied on rural youth and minorities for its cannon fodder in unpopular wars. Is it patriotism?

Perhaps, but the military often presents rural youth the only way out of poverty. The issue of Gays in the military, which looks at the military as a job rather than through the eyes of militarism or patriotism, has as a subtopic the idea that Gays in small towns and rural areas use the military as a way to get out of places where they aren't accepted.

I don't quibble with the information in the article, just that it doesn't say anything we didn't already know Why don't you examine the reasons behind and present statistics for the reasons rural young people join the military in greater numbers than urban or suburban youth. Are they escaping poverty and a bad education system? Are there a larger percentage of sexual minorities among rural youth who join the military? Do rural youth say they are more patriotic? I doubt that rural youth have more of a death wish than suburban youth? And by rural and exurban, is there a discripency between youth people of color and white youth who join the military? I just don't find that the statistics used in the article mean very much.

Looking for meaning

As the article said, most studies show that military recruiters do best with young people who have few job or education prospects. That's the reason.

Has this always been the case? Well, we don't know because nobody did this kind of research in previous times. Moreover, we are fighting our first wars with an all volunteer army. So the comparison wouldn't even be valid. When we talked to military historians when we first noticed this phenomenon, however, they told us that the draft prevented these kinds of geographic disparities. 

I don't know how you could determine the sexual orientation of enlistees.

The primary reason is economic, as the story says. Lack of opportunity increases the chances a young person will enlist. 

bill bishop

Lack of Awareness biggest factor

What seems to be missing here is also the historic case of families in these rural, less educated, less cultured, less well read and well traveled areas to remain unaware of the miltarism and imperialism that are tearing the U.S. apart and leading it toward mediocrity and bankrupsy.  War does not "serve our nation", it merely "serves" profit into pockets of the few perpetrators in the MIC, corrupt politicians and special interest groups.  Kids in more urban or upscale areas have parents that educate them young of fact that war does not serve the USA, and it is no more an "option" for a boy than a girl to be a pawn for profit.  Our wars go against founding fathers and early Presidents warning of military industrial complex, and it has been a long historic path of these few rural resdients remaining stuck in the false notion that it is "Patriotic" to "serve your nation" at war or even in the Military in any respect.  Oddly, the countries with the highest freedom and peace ratings in the world had dissolved any standing armies, stopped spending on the primitive institution of war.  The U.S in 2011 ranks #82 in Global Peace Index, behind many nations once thought of as oppressively violent. Japan is third most peaceful, with Iceland and New Zealand surpassing it.  Now we are oppresively violent, and its bringing our nation to 3rd world status.  It is wrong to think we are helping ourselves or any nation by "paying for their defense" or so much in that direction for ours.  Most "terroris" attacks are over sensationalized and even fabricated to fuel the war machine....even 9/11 is suspect as internal conspiracy with our long standing mid east involvement.  We are not a "world leader" in many areas now due to our deep pocket spending on military, and the fact we have unethical recrutiers going into our schools and asking our young daughters and sons (one no worse than other) to "join the army" to be a trained assasin in "protection of country" as the marketing spin goes, is downright primitive.  this violent marketing is driven into the fabric of every industry within America, with toy manufactureres marketing guns, military "men", army tanks as "boys toys" even though war is no more appropiate for boys than girls.  But the rural people will sadly remain in the dark unless they too educate themselves on American imperialism and how it is destroying, not serving our nation. A good place to start, read "The American Way of War" by Eugene Jarecki. I'l end with though provoking quote by Einstein: "Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war".  Be brave, say no