Peter Robinson at Ricochet directs attention to a study by the Heritage Foundation of military enlistment to population ratios by region. It tells us that, generally speaking, folks from Red States are much more inclined to serve in the military than folks from Blue States.
The most over-represented region consists of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. The most under-represented region is the Northeast from Pennsylvania upwards.
The Mountain West — Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico — is over-represented. So is Southeast.
The Pacific West and the Midwest are underrepresented. The Midwest’s short-fall in the military surprised me. But the much of that region has been trending Democratic for some time.
The Heritage Foundation study also explodes the myth that military service disproportionately attracts men and women from disadvantaged backgrounds. To the contrary, the study shows that U.S. military service disproportionately attracts enlisted personnel and officers who do not come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Members of the all-volunteer military are significantly more likely to come from high-income neighborhoods than from low-income neighborhoods. Only 11 percent of enlisted recruits in 2007 came from the poorest one-fifth (quintile) of neighborhoods, while 25 percent came from the wealthiest quintile.
American soldiers are more educated than their peers. A little more than 1 percent of enlisted personnel lack a high school degree, compared to 21 percent of men 18-24 years old, and 95 percent of officer accessions have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Generally speaking, then, people don’t volunteer for the military because they lack employment opportunities. They volunteer because they want to serve their country. And those with that level of patriotism tend to come from “Red America.”
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