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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Study of 99, 03 Recruits Shows Military "Looks Like America;" More Affluent Recruits After 9/11

Contrary to assertions constantly heard from congressional liberals like Rep. Charles Rangel, D-NY, and mainstream media editorials, a comprehensive statistical analysis of 1999 and 2003 recruits demonstrates not only that the U.S. military is remarkably representative of America, but the proportion of recruits from America's most affluent neighborhoods increased dramatically after the 9/11 attacks.

The study was conducted by Dr. Tim Kaine of The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis, using the U.S. Department of Defense's data on the 1999 and 2003 recruits, as well as in-depth demographic data from the U.S. Census.

Kaine's findings refute the stereotypical image of the military as being made up primarily of uneducated poor minorities with no other job prospects except becoming "cannon fodder." The caricature is not just off a little, but by a whole universe:

"In summary, we found that, on average, 1999 recruits were more highly educated than the equiv­alent general population, more rural and less urban in origin, and of similar income status.
"We did not find evidence of minority racial exploitation (by race or by race-weighted ZIP code areas). We did find evidence of a 'Southern military tradition' in that some states, notably in the South and West, provide a much higher proportion of enlisted troops by population.
"The household income of recruits generally matches the income distribution of the American population. There are slightly higher proportions of recruits from the middle class and slightly lower proportions from low-income brackets.
"However, the proportion of high-income recruits rose to a disproportionately high level after the war on ter­rorism began, as did the proportion of highly edu­cated enlistees. All of the demographic evidence that we analyzed contradicts the pro-draft case."

Regular readers of Tapscott's Copy Desk will recall the graphic that appears with this post from a post earlier this year that provided an advance peek at the Kaine study. The complete study is now available here.

You can also watch Kaine and a panel of experts, including the Pentagon's recruiting boss, discuss the study and its implications during a program held earlier this week at The Heritage Foundation.