States with the highest rates of military enlistment

Written by:
November 5, 2018
BPTU // Shutterstock

States with the highest rates of military enlistment

Roughly 1.35 million Americans serve in the United States Armed Forces, down from 2.24 million in 1989, according to data from the World Bank. Enlistment rates, however, are by no means uniform across the country.

Using data from the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA), a defense research and analysis organization, Stacker ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of military enlistment rates. States are ranked by a representation ratio, which looks at the number of recruits as a share of a state’s population of 18 to 24 year olds. A ranking of 1 is exactly neutral, implying that the state’s share of recruits is equal to its share of America's population in the 18- to 24-year-old demographic. The total number of enlistees is also noted, and all data is taken from 2016 recruitment numbers. Southern, western, and southwestern states dominate the overrepresented side of the list while states in the northeast are more likely to be underrepresented.

Read on to find out how your state measures up in terms of American military enlistment.

ALSO: States sending the most young people to the military

1 / 51
Master Sgt. Craig Clapper // Air National Guard

#51. District of Columbia

Representation ratio: 0.29 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 99

2 / 51
SMSgt David H. Lipp // Air National Guard

#50. North Dakota

Representation ratio: 0.53 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 203

3 / 51
Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey // Air National Guard

#49. Massachusetts

Representation ratio: 0.57 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 1,913

4 / 51
2nd Class Shane Arrington // Army National Guard

#48. Rhode Island

Representation ratio: 0.58 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 316

5 / 51
United States Navy // Wikimedia Commons

#47. New York

Representation ratio: 0.65 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 6,378

6 / 51
TSgt. Jeremy Giacoletto-Stegall // USAF

#46. Utah

Representation ratio: 0.69 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 1,051

7 / 51
US Army // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Iowa

Representation ratio: 0.7 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 996

8 / 51
Capt. Nathan T. Wallin // DOD

#44. Minnesota

Representation ratio: 0.71 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 1,609

9 / 51
Sgt. 1st Class Mark Bell // US Army Reserve

#43. New Jersey

Representation ratio: 0.71 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 2,901

10 / 51
Master Sgt. Rob Trubia // USAF

#42. Vermont

Representation ratio: 0.71 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 184

11 / 51
Unknown // Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs

#41. Wisconsin

Representation ratio: 0.75 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 2,033

12 / 51
Master Sgt. Culeen Shaffer // USAF

#40. Pennsylvania

Representation ratio: 0.79 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 4,924

13 / 51
The National Guard // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Nebraska

Representation ratio: 0.8 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 766

14 / 51
Staff Sgt. Thomas Vega // Michigan National Guard

#38. Michigan

Representation ratio: 0.81 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 3,800

15 / 51
The National Guard // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Connecticut

Representation ratio: 0.83 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 1,347

16 / 51
Staff Sgt. Lealan Buehrer // USAF

#36. Illinois

Representation ratio: 0.83 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 5,261

17 / 51
The National Guard // Flickr

#35. South Dakota

Representation ratio: 0.84 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 318

18 / 51
Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond // Kentucky National Guard

#34. Kentucky

Representation ratio: 0.86 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 1,750

19 / 51
Staff Sgt. Alicia R. Leaders // USMC

#33. California

Representation ratio: 0.88 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 17,729

20 / 51
Army Cyber // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Louisiana

Representation ratio: 0.88 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 2,099

21 / 51
US Army

#31. Kansas

Representation ratio: 0.9 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 1,202

22 / 51
The National Guard // Flickr

#30. West Virginia

Representation ratio: 0.91 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 767

23 / 51
John Turner // USAF

#29. Montana

Representation ratio: 0.93 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 454

24 / 51
Kemberly Groue // USAF

#28. Mississippi

Representation ratio: 0.95 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 1,428

25 / 51
STAFF SGT. RUSSELL LEE KLIKA // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Indiana

Representation ratio: 0.98 — underrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 2,922

26 / 51
Unknown // USAF

#26. Delaware

Representation ratio: 1 — equally represented
Total number of enlistees: 372

27 / 51
3rd Class Taylor DiMartino // Navy Live

#25. Maryland

Representation ratio: 1.05 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 2,841

28 / 51
The National Guard // Flickr

#24. New Hampshire

Representation ratio: 1.05 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 624

29 / 51
Sgt. Andrew Kuhn // DOD

#23. Ohio

Representation ratio: 1.06 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 5,368

30 / 51
Staff Sgt. Jon McCallum // afrc.af.mil

#22. Tennessee

Representation ratio: 1.06 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 3,239

31 / 51
Airman 1st Class Renishia Richardson // USAF

#21. Idaho

Representation ratio: 1.08 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 876

32 / 51
Dennis Carlson // USAF

#20. New Mexico

Representation ratio: 1.09 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 1,058

33 / 51
Airman 1st Class Luke W. Nowakowski // USAF

#19. Wyoming

Representation ratio: 1.09 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 278

34 / 51
Master Sgt. Michel Sauret // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Arkansas

Representation ratio: 1.11 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 1,370

35 / 51
The National Guard // Flickr

#17. Maine

Representation ratio: 1.11 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 562

36 / 51
Cpl. Justin Updegraff // USMC

#16. North Carolina

Representation ratio: 1.11 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 5,453

37 / 51
The National Guard // Flickr

#15. Oklahoma

Representation ratio: 1.11 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 1,977

38 / 51
Oregon National Guard // Flickr

#14. Oregon

Representation ratio: 1.11 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 1,928

39 / 51
Sgt. 1st Class Jason Kriess // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Washington

Representation ratio: 1.14 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 3,347

40 / 51
Tech. Sgt. Traci Howells // Air National Guard

#12. Missouri

Representation ratio: 1.17 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 2,948

41 / 51
Benjamin Faske // USAF

#11. Texas

Representation ratio: 1.2 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 16,139

42 / 51
Senior Master Sgt. Ken Johnson // USAF

#10. Alabama

Representation ratio: 1.24 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 2,915

43 / 51
Capt. Virginia Lang // USAF DOD

#9. Alaska

Representation ratio: 1.26 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 460

44 / 51
Sgt. Christopher O’Quin // USMC

#8. Hawaii

Representation ratio: 1.28 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 892

45 / 51
Tech. Sgt. Jared Marquis // USAF

#7. Colorado

Representation ratio: 1.29 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 2,774

46 / 51
Arizona National Guard // Flickr

#6. Arizona

Representation ratio: 1.31 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 3,947

47 / 51
Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz // USAF

#5. Nevada

Representation ratio: 1.31 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 1,614

48 / 51
Ashley Calingo // doncino.navy.mil

#4. Virginia

Representation ratio: 1.37 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 4,900

49 / 51
SC National Guard // Flickr

#3. South Carolina

Representation ratio: 1.42 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 3,014

50 / 51
2nd Class Marcus L. Stanley // USN

#2. Florida

Representation ratio: 1.43 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 11,552

51 / 51
GA National Guard // Flickr

#1. Georgia

Representation ratio: 1.50 — overrepresented
Total number of enlistees: 6,758

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