Iraq War’s Small Town Sacrifice

Small cities are sending more of their young to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq than large metroplitan regions.

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Kokomo
Chevy Bel Air at the Thursday night car show, Kokomo, Indiana

The Yonder reported last week that those soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan disproportionately come from rural communities. The casualty rate among those of military age (18 to 59) in rural America is fifty percent higher than in urban areas.

Rural communities send more of their young to the military than big cities. And, it appears, the same holds true for small cities. America’s small urban areas send a much higher proportion of their population to the conflicts in the Middle East than do large urban regions.
The Yonder has compared the death rates of all U.S. metropolitan areas. There are plenty of exceptions, but the trend is clear: the smaller the city, the higher the death rate.

Valdosta, Georgia; Kokomo, Indiana and Bismarck, North Dakota all have death rates that are 12 times higher than that of San Francisco. (The Yonder excluded cities with fewer than two casualties in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Including those cities does not change the trends.)

The average population of the 20 metropolitan areas with the lowest death rates is 1.8 million. The average population of the 20 metropolitan areas with the highest death rates is 151,000.

The difference in death rates among cities is far greater than the difference between urban and rural America. The average death rate for these 295 cities is 18.5 deaths per million population. The death rate in Casper, Wyoming is 56.8.

Determining the true hometowns of soldiers killed overseas is an inexact science. Every soldier is required to state a “home of record” at the time of enlistment. In the majority of cases, this is the place the young man or woman was living at the time he or she enlisted. It is the place the soldier grew up, or where his parents live or where she graduated from high school.

However, when a soldier leaves the military, even for a day, and then re-enlists, she can pick a new home of record. That could well be the military base where she is stationed. As a result, towns near military bases on this list could be slightly over-represented ““ places such as Fayetteville, North Carolina or Killeen, Texas, or Clarksville, Tennessee.

(The Yonder use the federal government’s designation of metropolitan statistical areas instead of political boundaries in this study. Austin, Texas, for example, fits within one county. Its metro area, however, spans five counties.)

What is driving death rates higher in towns like Kokomo or Bismarck? The Yonder prints this list with a lot of questions. What is going on in Bismarck or Lubbock, Texas, for example, that leads to higher enlistment rates than, say, Lancaster, Pennsylvania?

We would like to hear from readers about the local conditions that may help explain higher (or lower) death rates. In the meantime, here’s the list of the 295 metropolitan areas, their population in 2006; the total number of soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan through October 20, 2007; and a death rate. (The death rate is the number of casualties divided by total population multiplied times one million.)

 

RankMetropolitan AreaDeaths in Iraq and AfghanistanTotal Population, 2006Death Rate*
1Valdosta,GA8126,30563.3
2Kokomo,IN6100,87759.5
3Bismarck,ND6101,13859.3
4Casper,WY470,40156.8
5Altoona,PA7126,49455.3
6Mansfield,OH7127,01055.1
7Corvallis,OR479,06150.6
8Cheyenne,WY485,38446.8
9Elizabethtown,KY5110,87845.1
10Salisbury,MD5117,76142.5
11Fayetteville,NC14341,36341.0
12Bangor,ME6147,18040.8
13Flagstaff,AZ5124,95340.0
14Lawton,OK4109,18136.6
15CorpusChristi,TX15415,81036.1
16Owensboro,KY4112,09335.7
17Anniston-Oxford,AL4112,90335.4
18Fairbanks,AK386,75434.6
19Killeen-Temple-FortHood,TX12351,32234.2
20Redding,CA6179,95133.3
21Clarksville,TN-KY8240,50033.3
22St.Joseph,MO-KS4122,30632.7
23Champaign-Urbana,IL7216,58132.3
24Lafayette,IN6185,74532.3
25LittleRock-NorthLittleRock,AR21652,83432.2
26Farmington,NM4126,47331.6
27Odessa,TX4127,46231.4
28Savannah,GA10320,01331.2
29ElCentro,CA5160,30131.2
30Columbus,GA-AL9288,84731.2
31Oshkosh-Neenah,WI5160,59331.1
32LasCruces,NM6193,88830.9
33Anderson,IN4130,57530.6
34Lubbock,TX8261,41130.6
35GrandJunction,CO4134,18929.8
36Missoula,MT3101,41729.6
37Saginaw-SaginawTownshipNorth,MI6206,30029.1
38Decatur,IL3109,30927.4
39Wheeling,WV-OH4147,32927.2
40Fargo,ND-MN5187,00126.7
41Yuma,AZ5187,55526.7
42Davenport-Moline-RockIsland,IA-IL10377,29126.5
43Gulfport-Biloxi,MS6227,90426.3
44Macon,GA6229,32626.2
45Morgantown,WV3115,13626.1
46MountVernon-Anacortes,WA3115,70025.9
47Spartanburg,SC7271,08725.8
48Monroe,MI4155,03525.8
49Sandusky,OH278,11625.6
50Sherman-Denison,TX3118,47825.3
51Abilene,TX4158,06325.3
52RapidCity,SD3118,76325.3
53Elkhart-Goshen,IN5198,10525.2
54Winchester,VA-WV3118,93225.2
55Anchorage,AK9359,18025.1
56Reno-Sparks,NV10400,56025.0
57Flint,MI11441,96624.9
58Amarillo,TX6241,51524.8
59Parkersburg-Marietta,WV-OH4161,72424.7
60Gainesville,FL6243,98524.6
61SantaCruz-Watsonville,CA6249,70524.0
62Weirton-Steubenville,WV-OH3125,16824.0
63TerreHaute,IN4168,21723.8
64Tallahassee,FL8336,50223.8
65Stockton,CA16673,17023.8
66Lafayette,LA6254,43223.6
67Shreveport-BossierCity,LA9386,77823.3
68Monroe,LA4172,22323.2
69Pocatello,ID286,35723.2
70Pittsfield,MA3131,11722.9
71Anderson,SC4177,96322.5
72Dalton,GA3134,39722.3
73SanAntonio,TX431,942,21722.1
74FortWayne,IN9408,07122.1
75Canton-Massillon,OH9409,76422.0
76GrandRapids-Wyoming,MI17774,08422.0
77Kalamazoo-Portage,MI7319,73821.9
78Kingston,NY4182,74221.9
79Duluth,MN-WI6274,24421.9
80Dubuque,IA292,38421.6
81Yakima,WA5233,10521.4
82Olympia,WA5234,67021.3
83StateCollege,PA3140,95321.3
84Augusta-RichmondCounty,GA-SC11523,24921.0
85Harrisburg-Carlisle,PA11525,38020.9
86JohnsonCity,TN4191,13620.9
87LakeCharles,LA4192,31620.8
88GrandForks,ND-MN296,52320.7
89WichitaFalls,TX3145,52820.6
90Hanford-Corcoran,CA3146,15320.5
91Johnstown,PA3146,96720.4
92Racine,WI4196,09620.4
93FondduLac,WI299,24320.2
94Cumberland,MD-WV299,75920.0
95ColoradoSprings,CO12599,12720.0
96Evansville,IN-KY7350,35620.0
97Brunswick,GA2100,61319.9
98Houma-BayouCane-Thibodaux,LA4202,90219.7
99Pueblo,CO3152,91219.6
100Portland-SouthPortland,ME10513,66719.5
101Omaha-CouncilBluffs,NE-IA16822,54919.5
102BoiseCity-Nampa,ID11567,64019.4
103Montgomery,AL7361,74819.4
104Columbia,MO3155,99719.2
105Tucson,AZ18946,36219.0
106SanAngelo,TX2105,75218.9
107Peoria,IL7370,19418.9
108Lima,OH2105,78818.9
109OklahomaCity,OK221,172,33918.8
110Oxnard-ThousandOaks-Ventura,CA15799,72018.8
111Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton,OR-WA402,137,56518.7
112Bloomington-Normal,IL3161,20218.6
113Lewiston-Auburn,ME2107,55218.6
114NewOrleans-Metairie-Kenner,LA191,024,67818.5
115Waterloo-CedarFalls,IA3162,26318.5
116Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Tonawanda,NY211,137,52018.5
117BayCity,MI2108,39018.5
118Albuquerque,NM15816,81118.4
119SanDiego-Carlsbad-SanMarcos,CA542,941,45418.4
120Jackson,MI3163,85118.3
121Cleveland,TN2109,47718.3
122Pittsburgh,PA432,370,77618.1
123MichiganCity-LaPorte,IN2110,47918.1
124Greenville,NC3165,77618.1
125Spokane,WA8446,70617.9
126Jackson,TN2111,93717.9
127Tulsa,OK16897,75217.8
128Joplin,MO3168,55217.8
129Boulder,CO5282,30417.7
130BowlingGreen,KY2113,32017.6
131Harrisonburg,VA2113,44917.6
132Lansing-EastLansing,MI8454,04417.6
133Lincoln,NE5283,97017.6
134Modesto,CA9512,13817.6
135Victoria,TX2114,08817.5
136AnnArbor,MI6344,04717.4
137Manchester-Nashua,NH7402,78917.4
138Mobile,AL7404,15717.3
139FortSmith,AR-OK5288,81817.3
140Springfield,MO7407,09217.2
141Muskegon-NortonShores,MI3175,23117.1
142Akron,OH12700,94317.1
143IdahoFalls,ID2116,98017.1
144Wichita,KS10592,12616.9
145GreenBay,WI5299,00316.7
146Lynchburg,VA4239,51016.7
147Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir,NC6359,85616.7
148FortWaltonBeach-Crestview-Destin,FL3180,29116.6
149Bremerton-Silverdale,WA4240,60416.6
150Madison,WI9543,02216.6
151Honolulu,HI15909,86316.5
152Houston-Baytown-SugarLand,TX915,539,94916.4
153Charleston,WV5305,52616.4
154ElPaso,TX12736,31016.3
155Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton,PA-NJ13800,33616.2
156Baltimore-Towson,MD432,658,40516.2
157Athens-ClarkeCounty,GA3185,47916.2
158Riverside-SanBernardino-Ontario,CA654,026,13516.1
159Ogden-Clearfield,UT8497,64016.1
160Beaumont-PortArthur,TX6379,64015.8
161McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr,TX11700,63415.7
162Columbus,OH271,725,57015.6
163CollegeStation-Bryan,TX3192,15215.6
164Salem,OR6384,60015.6
165GlensFalls,NY2129,45515.4
166Youngstown-Warren-Boardman,OH-PA9586,93915.3
167Wilmington,NC5326,16615.3
168Coeurd’Alene,ID2131,50715.2
169Austin-RoundRock,TX231,513,56515.2
170Norwich-NewLondon,CT4263,29315.2
171Richmond,VA181,194,00815.1
172Knoxville,TN10667,38415.0
173Napa,CA2133,52215.0
174Cincinnati-Middletown,OH-KY-IN312,104,21814.7
175Greensboro-HighPoint,NC10685,37814.6
176Vallejo-Fairfield,CA6411,68014.6
177Burlington-SouthBurlington,VT3206,00714.6
178Prescott,AZ3208,01414.4
179IowaCity,IA2139,56714.3
180Erie,PA4279,81114.3
181Columbia,SC10703,77114.2
182Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor,OH302,114,15514.2
183Springfield,OH2141,87214.1
184Jacksonville,FL181,277,99714.1
185Florence,AL2142,65714.0
186Huntington-Ashland,WV-KY-OH4285,47514.0
187CapeCoral-FortMyers,FL8571,34414.0
188VirginiaBeach-Norfolk-NewportNews,VA-NC231,649,45713.9
189SiouxCity,IA-NE-SD2143,47413.9
190Appleton,WI3217,31313.8
191JeffersonCity,MO2144,95813.8
192Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro,TN201,455,09713.7
193Birmingham-Hoover,AL151,100,01913.6
194Dover,DE2147,60113.6
195Utica-Rome,NY4297,28613.5
196Bend,OR2149,14013.4
197Decatur,AL2149,54913.4
198Kennewick-Richland-Pasco,WA3226,03313.3
199Waco,TX3226,18913.3
200Jackson,MS7529,45613.2
201KansasCity,MO-KS261,967,40513.2
202Pascagoula,MS2152,40513.1
203Dayton,OH11838,94013.1
204Topeka,KS3228,89413.1
205BatonRouge,LA10766,51413.0
206Providence-NewBedford-FallRiver,RI-MA211,612,98913.0
207LasVegas-Paradise,NV231,777,53912.9
208Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton,NJ2154,82312.9
209Washington-Arlington-Alexandria,DC-VA-MD-WV685,290,40012.9
210SantaRosa-Petaluma,CA6466,89112.9
211Bakersfield,CA10780,11712.8
212Scranton–Wilkes-Barre,PA7550,84112.7
213Ocala,FL4316,18312.7
214Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville,CA262,067,11712.6
215SantaBarbara-SantaMaria-Goleta,CA5400,33512.5
216PanamaCity-LynnHaven,FL2163,50512.2
217Merced,CA3245,65812.2
218Albany,GA2163,96112.2
219Binghamton,NY3247,55412.1
220Raleigh-Cary,NC12994,55112.1
221CedarRapids,IA3249,32012.0
222Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington,PA-NJ-DE-MD705,826,74212.0
223York-Hanover,PA5416,32212.0
224Visalia-Porterville,CA5419,90911.9
225Boston-Cambridge-Quincy,MA-NH534,455,21711.9
226Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale,AZ484,039,18211.9
227Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers,AR-MO5420,87611.9
228Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater,FL322,697,73111.9
229Dallas-FortWorth-Arlington,TX716,003,96711.8
230Hagerstown-Martinsburg,MD-WV3257,61911.6
231Greenville,SC7601,98611.6
232Charleston-NorthCharleston,SC7603,17811.6
233Orlando,FL231,984,85511.6
234Worcester,MA9784,99211.5
235Louisville,KY-IN141,222,21611.5
236Lexington-Fayette,KY5436,68411.4
237Pensacola-FerryPass-Brent,FL5439,98711.4
238LosAngeles-LongBeach-SantaAna,CA14712,950,12911.4
239SaltLakeCity,UT121,067,72211.2
240Fresno,CA10891,75611.2
241Rochester,MN2179,57311.1
242AtlanticCity,NJ3271,62011.0
243Indianapolis,IN181,666,03210.8
244Durham,NC5464,38910.8
245Minneapolis-St.Paul-Bloomington,MN-WI343,175,04110.7
246Rochester,NY111,035,43510.6
247Charlottesville,VA2190,27810.5
248Brownsville-Harlingen,TX4387,71710.3
249Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice,FL7682,83310.3
250Springfield,MA7686,17410.2
251Medford,OR2197,07110.1
252Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue,WA333,263,49710.1
253Chattanooga,TN-GA5496,70410.1
254Longview,TX2203,3679.8
255Springfield,IL2206,1129.7
256St.Louis,MO-IL272,796,3689.7
257SiouxFalls,SD2212,9119.4
258DesMoines,IA5534,2309.4
259PalmBay-Melbourne-Titusville,FL5534,3599.4
260Chico,CA2215,8819.3
261Detroit-Warren-Livonia,MI404,468,9669.0
262Chicago-Naperville-Joliet,IL-IN-WI859,505,7488.9
263BarnstableTown,MA2224,8168.9
264Winston-Salem,NC4456,6148.8
265Laredo,TX2231,4708.6
266Kingsport-Bristol,TN-VA2232,9718.6
267Denver-Aurora,CO202,363,6348.5
268Greeley,CO2236,8578.4
269Miami-FortLauderdale-MiamiBeach,FL465,463,8578.4
270Hartford-WestHartford-EastHartford,CT101,188,8418.4
271MyrtleBeach-Conway-NorthMyrtleBeach,SC2238,4938.4
272Atlanta-SandySprings-Marietta,GA435,138,2238.4
273NewHaven-Milford,CT7845,2448.3
274Trenton-Ewing,NJ3367,6058.2
275Deltona-DaytonaBeach-OrmondBeach,FL4496,5758.1
276Milwaukee-Waukesha-WestAllis,WI121,509,9817.9
277NewYork-Newark-Edison,NY-NJ-PA14818,818,5367.9
278SanLuisObispo-PasoRobles,CA2257,0057.8
279Toledo,OH5653,6957.6
280Asheville,NC3398,0097.5
281Memphis,TN-MS-AR91,274,7047.1
282Roanoke,VA2295,0506.8
283SanJose-Sunnyvale-SantaClara,CA121,787,1236.7
284Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk,CT6900,4406.7
285Naples-MarcoIsland,FL2314,6496.4
286Provo-Orem,UT3474,1806.3
287Albany-Schenectady-Troy,NY5850,9575.9
288Rockford,IL2348,2525.7
289Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord,NC-SC91,583,0165.7
290Lakeland-WinterHaven,FL3561,6065.3
291SanFrancisco-Oakland-Fremont,CA224,180,0275.3
292Reading,PA2401,1495.0
293Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown,NY3671,5384.5
294Lancaster,PA2494,4864.0
295Syracuse,NY2650,0513.1
*Death rate equals casualties divided by total population multiplied by 1,000,000
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