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Rural Recruiting

U.S. soldiers are still dying in Iraq (80 in November. 96 in October.)

New recruits are still coming disproportionately from rural areas.

This from North Branch, Michigan.

Uncle Sam lures more from rural Michigan: Money, education attract military recruits who see few opportunities in small towns.

Military records show that Michigan’s military recruits come disproportionately from the state’s most rural areas, where young people enlist at a rate double that in the most populous parts of the state. […]

In the state’s 45 most rural counties — those in which at least 60 percent of people live in rural areas — about seven of every 1,000 young people ages 18-24 enlisted last year. In the state’s most populous counties, about four of every 1,000 young adults signed up.

The pattern is similar nationwide. […]

The same study found a correlation nationwide between lower economic status and increased likelihood of enlisting in the armed forces. Neither of these findings are particularly surprising. In a time of military conflict our all volunteer military is drawing more heavily on young people with limited alternatives (or a perception of limited alternatives).

But as Anita Bancs, research director for the National Priorities Project says, “If we’re going to engage in war, we ought to know who the people are who volunteer, who are serving in the armed forces and who put themselves at risk.”

As the national debate over the direction of the war in Iraq escalates, it is doubly important to recognize who is baring the burden of the current policy.

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