07 October 2010

The "Geographic Divide" of U.S. military forces

An excerpt from an article at The Atlantic:
The social divisions of class and inequality have always run through the military. Fighting forces have long been drawn disproportionately from lower-income, lower-skilled, and more economically disadvantaged populations. But what is new, according to my colleague Patrick Adler at the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI), is the degree to which those class divisions are underpinned by geography...

The data for the map are based on where the service member is based...

The variance across states is quite substantial: 13 states are home to fewer than ten military personnel per 10,000 people, while six states have more than ten times as much and three have more than 200 military personnel per 10,000 people... Aside from relatively high concentrations in Alaska, Hawaii, Washington state, and North Dakota, the military is overwhelmingly concentrated in two distinctive areas of the Sunbelt... The upper mid-west and the northeast, especially New England, which tend to be more liberal and left-leaning than the rest of the nation, have very low concentrations of military personnel.
Note the color scale at the bottom of the map reflects a 50-fold increase in density.  Another map and further discussion at the link.


  1. let's not forget that while vermont does not lead in per capita military service, we lead (or did for a while; i have not seen the latest grim statistics) in per capita casualties, interesting in a state that posesses no sizeable military base.

    when you make observations about per-capita service and liberal and left-leaning, do you correct for overall size of state?

    in some states where other things HAVE to be done (teach, put out fires, collect garbage, plow roads) there's a certain threshold at which you simply can't have a smaller percentage of your population in those services.

    and are they adjusted for military opportunities? or other opportunities? i understand that a lot of states with a LOT of servicepeople have bona fide military bases in them, and that in some of those states, the military isn't just a job choice, it's the onliest job in town.

    yes, it's an interesting little infographic, but identifiying low-percentage states as left-leaning or liberal and leaving it at that kind of leaves out most of the, uh, thinking.

    there used to be two stores within eight miles of my home. now there is one. FIFTY PERCENT of our retail outlets are gone because of military service!

  2. There is also geographic need; Navy bases are on the coasts, not all of them, recruit training is at Great Lakes, IL and lots of the Personnel Detatchment stuff is in Tennessee, but ships need water.

  3. Apples and oranges.
    Poverty levels and military recruitment have long been associated. The chart is showing military bases, which have nothing to do with the first thing. This is why Hawaii shows such density. I don't think Hawaiians are heavily represented in the armed forces.

  4. No no no no no.

    He talks about the economic backgrounds of the individual soldiers at first, - "Fighting forces have long been drawn disproportionately from lower-income, lower-skilled, and more economically disadvantaged populations."

    And then he switches COMPLETELY to WHERE the military bases are and where the soldiers are BASED. "The data for the map are based on where the service member is based..."

    These are two entirely different things. The map, in essence, then only shows what percentage of the overall population in each state is military personnel based there.

    WHY is it necessary to bring in the economic status of soldiers? That has NOTHING to do with how many soldiers are based in which state.

    Or did I miss something?

    There is no economic divide. There are stats with a lot of bases, and there are ones with fewer bases. Showing that is nothing new. Whoop dee freaking doo...

    I see that Sue Dunham saw this, too, but I will still post. A CRAP article.


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