Every year, the Department of Defense tracks enlistment numbers across the United States. Using this data, Business Insider created a map showing where young people (between 18-24) sign up for the U. S. military.
The results reveal that states in the Southeast corridor of the the U.S. have higher representation in the military than any other region.
Most enlistees came from Florida and Georgia. Outside of the Southeast, Maine contributes a significant number of young men and women to the armed services.
Some states, like North Dakota, have disproportionately lower numbers of enlistees. Also, the states in the areas labeled West North Central, Middle Atlantic and New England showed the lowest regional numbers.
Enlistment-aged civilians from Florida, Georgia and Maine were more than twice as likely to join the military than civilians from states such as North Dakota and Utah, with the lowest enlistees.
In 2013, 44 percent of all enlistees were from the South, while only 14 percent came from the Northeast.
Based on this information, the U.S. military is not representative of the entire United States.
The reason for low enlistment rates vary:
“‘One reason might be exposure to large military bases in states where there are higher enlistment rates,’ DoD spokesman LCDR Nate Christensen said.”
The smalls numbers could also be attributed to differening recruiting practices. Other factors may include cultural and economic differences.
Experts like Sheana Watkins and James Sherk, who conducted a 2008 study of members of the U.S. military, caution against reading too much into this data:
“A soldier’s demographic characteristics are of little importance in the military, which values honor, leadership, self-sacrifice, courage, and integrity-qualities that cannot be quantified. Demographic characteristics are a poor proxy for the quality of those who serve in the armed forces… but they can help to explain which Americans volunteer for military service and why.”
No matter where enlistees hail from, all members of the United States armed forces have sworn to defend our nation and we are thankful for their service.