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Number of wealthy Army recruits dropping

WASHINGTON, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- The children of wealthy parents are underrepresented in the U.S. Army, and their numbers have dropped over the last three years, according to new data.

The National Priorities Project, a non-profit social justice advocacy group in Northampton, Mass., compared the median household incomes from new recruits' zip codes with the total number of 18 to 24-year olds living in the same zip code for the years 2004 to 2006.

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It found that the highest share of new recruits come from neighborhoods with an income range of $30,000 to $59,999, according to data compiled by Claritas, Inc., a marketing company that tracks household income and purchasing preferences. The comparable median household income for the United States in 2005 was $47,837.

"Upper-middle and high-income neighborhoods have fallen in representation from 2004," states NPP. "Wealthier neighborhoods are less represented in 2005 and 2006 than they were in 2004."

Very poor neighborhoods are also underrepresented, according to the data. The ratio of recruits to youth population for zip codes with incomes ranging from $5,000 to $24,999 are roughly analogous to those in neighborhoods with incomes ranging from $110,000 to $119,000.

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The state of Texas contributed the most recruits in 2006 with 8,214, or 2.38 per every 1,000 18- to 24 year olds. California was next in sheer numbers, with 6,339 in 2006 -- but only 1.32 per every 1,000 recruiting age youths. Arkansas contributed 981 recruits, the highest proportion of any state with 2.47 recruits per 1,000.

Connecticut contributed the lowest proportion with .83 per 1,000, for a total of 386.

The data is available on nationalpriorities.org.

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