A pillar of conventional wisdom about the U.S. military is that the quality of volunteers has been degraded after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Examples of the voices making this claim range from the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and New York Daily News  to Michael Moore's pseudo-documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. Some insist that minorities and the underprivileged are overrepresented in the military. Others accuse the U.S. Army of accepting unqualified enlistees in a futile attempt to meet its recruiting goals in the midst of an unpopular war.
A report published by The Heritage Foundation in November 2005 examined the issue and could not substantiate any degradation in troop quality by comparing military enlistees in 1999 to those in 2003. It is possible that troop quality did not degrade until after the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, when patriotism was high. A common assumption is that the Army experienced difficulty getting qualified enlistees in 2005 and was subsequently forced to lower its standards. This report revisits the issue by examining the full recruiting classes for all branches of the U.S. military for every year from 2003 to 2005.
The current findings show that the demographic characteristics of volunteers have continued to show signs of higher, not lower, quality. Quality is a difficult concept to apply to soldiers, or to human beings in any context, and it should be understood here in context. Regardless of the standards used to screen applicants, the average quality of the people accepted into any organization can be assessed only by using measurable criteria, which surely fail to account for intangible characteristics. In the military, it is especially questionable to claim that measurable characteristics accurately reflect what really matters: courage, honor, integrity, loyalty, and leadership.
Those who have been so quick to suggest that today's wartime recruits represent lesser quality, lower standards, or lower class should be expected make an airtight case. Instead, they have cited selective evidence, which is balanced by a much clearer set of evidence showing improving troop quality.
Indeed, in many criteria, each year shows advancement, not decline, in measurable qualities of new enlistees. For example, it is commonly claimed that the military relies on recruits from poorer neighborhoods because the wealthy will not risk death in war. This claim has been advanced without any rigorous evidence. Our review of Pentagon enlistee data shows that the only group that is lowering its participation in the military is the poor. The percentage of recruits from the poorest American neighborhoods (with one-fifth of the U.S. population) declined from 18 percent in 1999 to 14.6 percent in 2003, 14.1 percent in 2004, and 13.7 percent in 2005.
This report updates the previous Heritage Foundation report, with data on all U.S. recruits during 2004 and 2005. We introduce the term "wartime recruits" to identify volunteer enlistees in all branches during 2003, 2004, and 2005. Like the previous report, the analysis considers the following characteristics:
Level of education,
In summary, the additional years of recruit data (2004-2005) support the previous finding that U.S. military recruits are more similar than dissimilar to the American youth population. The slight differences are that wartime U.S. military enlistees are better educated, wealthier, and more rural on average than their civilian peers.
Recruits have a higher percentage of high school graduates and representation from Southern and rural areas. No evidence indicates exploitation of racial minorities (either by race or by race-weighted ZIP code areas). Finally, the distribution of household income of recruits is noticeably higher than that of the entire youth population.
Demographic evidence discredits the argument that a draft is necessary to enforce representation from racial and socioeconomic groups. Additionally, three of the four branches of the armed forces met their recruiting goals in fiscal year 2005, and Army reenlistments are the highest in the past five years. A draft is not necessary to increase the size of the active-duty forces. Our analysis using Pentagon data on wartime volunteers effectively shatters the case for reinstating the draft.
Household Income of Recruits
Like their peers in 1999 and 2003, recruits in 2004 and 2005 came primarily from middle-class areas. Poor areas are proportionally underrepresented in the wartime years (2003-2005).
The Department of Defense (DOD) does not track family income data for recruits, and there are no individual income data for enlistees. Military service is the first full-time job for most of them. We approximate each recruit's household income by using the median household income of his or her hometown ZIP code.
Much of the analysis in this paper (including this section) uses five-digit Census ZIP code tabulation areas (ZCTAs) as the unit of analysis. The Census Bureau uses ZCTAs to approximate U.S. Postal Service ZIP codes. In most cases, ZCTAs correspond to postal ZIP codes. For example, Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY), who advocated reinstating the draft in 2003, resides in the postal ZIP code 10037. The corresponding five-digit ZCTA 10037, shown in Figure 1, had a 1999 median household income of $26,561. In 2004, six recruits originated from the area. In 2005, two more recruits from that ZIP code enlisted.
By assigning each recruit the median 1999 household income for his hometown ZIP code as determined from Census 2000, the mean income for 2004 recruits was $43,122 (in 1999 dollars). For 2005 recruits, it was $43,238 (in 1999 dollars). These are increases over the mean incomes for the 1999 cohort ($41,141) and 2003 cohort ($42,822). The national median published in Census 2000 was $41,994. This indicates that, on average, the 2004 and 2005 recruit populations come from even wealthier areas than their peers who enlisted in 1999 and 2003.
When comparing these wartime recruits (2003- 2005) to the resident population ages 18-24 (as recorded in Census 2000), areas with median household income levels between $35,000 and $79,999 were overrepresented, along with income categories between $85,000 and $94,999. (See Chart 2.) Though the mainstream media continue to portray the war in Iraq as unpopular, this evidence suggests that the United States is not sending the poor to die for the interests of the rich.
With the addition of data for the 2004 and 2005 recruits, the quintile trends noted in the previous report are even more striking. (See Table 1.) From 2003 to 2005, the representation of the highest-income quintile rose 0.68 percentage point, from 22.17 percent to 22.85 percent. As conflict in Iraq continues, youth from wealthy areas continue to volunteer for duty despite increased risk. Additionally, over the course of these three recruit years, representation from the poorest quintile has decreased dramatically. The representation among recruits of the lowest-income quintile fell nearly a full percentage point, from 14.61 percent in 2003 to 13.66 percent in 2005.
This change in proportional representation of areas based on ZCTA median household income is even more noteworthy when compared to the pre-9/11 recruits in the 1999 cohort, in which 18.6 percent of the recruits came from areas in the wealthiest quintile and 18.0 percent came from areas in the poorest quintile, indicating underrepresentation for both the high and low ends of the income distribution. As shown in Chart 3, each of the top three quintiles increased in representation from 2003 to 2005, and all were overrepresented in comparison to the Census 2000 population ages 18-24.
Educational achievement is the characteristic most commonly cited as evidence of lower military standards driven by the Iraq War. While some measures, such as the higher percentage of Category IV recruits in the Army, are cited, other measures, such as the higher percentage of Category I recruits, are ignored. In general, the higher quality of recruits compared to equivalent civilian population has held steady during the war years.
The previous study noted the significant difference between the national recruit high school graduation rate of 98 percent and the national youth graduation rate of 75 percent. This strong distinction continues among the 2004 and 2005 recruits when compared to the national educational attainment levels reported by the Census 2004 American Community Survey (ACS).
Given the nature of the military rank structure, most enlisted recruits do not have a college education or degree. Members of the armed forces with higher education are more often commissioned officers (lieutenant and above). In 2004, 92.1 percent of active-duty officer accessions held baccalaureate degrees or higher. From 2000 to 2005, between 10 percent and 17 percent of active-duty officer accessions held advanced degrees, and between 35 percent and 45 percent of the active-duty officer corps held advanced degrees. This indicates that officers continued their education during the course of their military service.
Many enlisted personnel are drawn to the benefits offered by the armed forces that allow them to obtain funding for college. In recent years, incentives to join the military have increased, providing more of the enlisted recruits with additional resources to finance their education. Although only about 7 percent of recruits for 2003-2005 entered the military with some college experience, over 11 percent of the 2004 active component enlisted force had some college experience.
Additionally, in the most recent edition of Population Representation in the Military Services, the Department of Defense reported that the mean reading level of 2004 recruits is a full grade level higher than that of the comparable youth population. Fewer than 2 percent of wartime recruits have no high school credentials. Table 2 shows the breakdown for the educational attainment of the wartime recruit cohorts. The national high school graduation rate taken from the Census 2004 ACS is 79.8 percent.
In previous years, the Department of Defense adhered to a policy of accepting no more than 2 percent of recruits scoring in Category IV on the Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT), the standardized test administered to all recruits to determine eligibility. Category IV indicates that the individual scored between the 21st and 30th percentiles. Congress accepted a revised policy of up to 4 percent to allow for flexibility in the current recruiting market. Despite three of the four branches accepting limited numbers of Category IV recruits, in November 2005, the media criticized the Army for accepting a high number of recruits from Category IV.
In fiscal year 2005, 4.4 percent of Army recruits scored in Category IV, and the Army is optimistic that it will remain within policy guidelines with its recruits for fiscal year 2006. For the first three quarters of fiscal year 2006 (October 2005-June 2006), 3.4 percent of Army recruits scored in Category IV. While the Army has been criticized for its AFQT score policy, only 1.2 percent of Marine Corps recruits for the first three quarters of fiscal year 2006 scored in Category IV, and the Air Force and the Navy have no such recruits for this period. In 2005, only 2.2 percent of the recruits from all four branches in fiscal year 2005 scored in Category IV. By comparison, because the Army does not accept any recruits below the 21st percentile, the nature of AFQT scoring indicates that 20 percent of the comparable civilian population would score below Category IV.
The policy regarding high school graduation status (or the equivalent) remains stringent across all four branches of the military. At least 90 percent of recruits must be high school diploma graduates (which does not include equivalency). Recruit accessions from the first three quarters of fiscal year 2006 are above this guideline in all branches except the Army. As of May 2006, 83.1 percent of accepted Army recruits met this requirement, which is still a greater percentage than the national graduation rate including equivalency. Additionally, for fiscal year 2006, the Army is in step with the other three branches in meeting the overall DOD guideline that more than 60 percent of enlistees should score above the 50th percentile on the AFQT.
The military defines a "high quality" recruit as one who has scored above the 50th percentile on the AFQT and has a high school diploma. The percentage of high-quality recruits has increased from 57 percent in 2001 to 64 percent in 2005 (67 percent in 2004), indicating not only that the military is accepting intelligent and well-educated recruits, but also that the representation of these recruits has increased strongly since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
While the military has changed its policies to allow flexibility in recruiting standards, it has certainly not abandoned them. The current guidelines allow each force the flexibility to accept recruits who satisfy only one criterion: either a high school diploma or an above-average score on the AFQT, which is a standard equal to or exceeding the general youth population.
According to the 2004 Census ACS, 75.6 percent of the national adult population self-identifies as belonging to the racial category white alone. In both 2004 and 2005, 73.1 percent of recruits were classified as white alone. This indicates a recruit-to-population ratio of 0.97, with 1.00 indicating an exact proportional representation. (See Table 4.) Whites are the most proportionally represented racial group among recruits. Excluding the group of a combination of two or more races, minority representation varies between being moderately proportional to extremely disproportional. The most overrepresented group is Native Hawaiian/ Other Pacific Islander, with a ratio of 7.49 in 2005, or an overrepresentation of 649 percent. The Asian category is the most underrepresented group, with a ratio of 0.69 in 2005.
Similar ratios appear in the proportional representation of racial groups among Army recruits in both 2004 and 2005, with the exception that blacks are more proportionally represented among 2005 Army recruits than they are in the total recruit population. The change in proportional representation of blacks among military recruits is a notable change from the 2003 cohort to the 2004 and 2005 cohorts. In the last three quarters of the 2003 recruit year, blacks were largely overrepresented, with a recruit-to-population ratio of 1.32 among all recruits and 1.44 among Army recruits. For 2004, these ratios were 1.19 and 1.17, respectively. In 2005, they were 1.07 and 0.96, respectively, which indicates that in the past two years of military recruits, the proportion of blacks in the military approached the proportion of blacks in the population.
The 2005 Army recruit-to-population ratio for blacks is 0.96. Additionally, they are more proportionally represented in the Army than whites, who have an Army recruit-to-population ratio of 0.95.
The 100 three-digit ZCTAs with the highest proportion of blacks (in any combination of other races) according to Census 2000 contained 14.63 percent of the adult population. The recruits from these areas represent 14.09 percent of the 2003 cohort, 14.14 percent of the 2004 cohort, and 13.37 percent of the 2005 cohort. This indicates that these areas are not being overtly targeted to enlist large numbers of black recruits. For these 100 three-digit ZCTAs, the percentage of those who self-identified as black in any combination in the 2004 cohort (42.94 percent) was almost equal to the percentage of those who self-identified as white in any combination (45.67 percent).
An accurate ratio of proportionality of Hispanics cannot be determined from the recruit data for 2004 and 2005 due to the high percentage of recruits who declined to respond. (See Table 5.) However, when considering only those that did respond, the 2004 recruit-to-population ratio is 1.09 for Hispanics and 0.99 for non-Hispanics. (See Table 6.) For 2005, these ratios were 1.15 and 0.98, respectively. While this suggests that Hispanics are overrepresented among recruits, it does not reflect a gross underrepresentation of non-Hispanics. No evidence suggests that the military is targeting its recruiting efforts to draw principally from Hispanic areas or to enlist primarily Hispanic youth.
In reexamining the question of whether the troops originate primarily from rural areas, the data for 2004 and 2005 indicate the same pattern seen in the 2003 data. As the rural concentration increases, so does the proportional overrepresentation of recruits when compared to the population ages 18-24. (See Table 7.)
Additionally, the data for 2004 and 2005 confirm the strong military tradition in the South. In each year from 2003 through 2005, approximately 38 percent of the U.S. population resided in Southern states. In 2003, 43.82 percent of military recruits listed Southern hometowns. Southern representation among recruits remained consistent with 43.49 percent in 2004 and 43.8 percent in 2005. (See Table 8.)
In 2004 and 2005, 29 states were overrepresented among military recruits in comparison to the general population. (See Table 9.) The top five states with the highest proportional enlistment ratios for 2004 and 2005 are Montana (1.69, 1.57); Texas (1.34, 1.46); Wyoming (1.44, 1.41); Alaska (1.47, 1.40); and Oklahoma (1.31, 1.37). As mentioned in the previous report, one might expect states directly affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks to respond with increased enlistment proportions. However, Virginia and New York continued to decrease in proportional representation from during 2004 and 2005.
The states with the most positive upward movement in their enlistment ratios from 2003 to 2005 were New Hampshire (+0.13), Texas (+0.12), and Maine (+0.10). The greatest decreases in enlistment ratios correspond to the District of Columbia (-0.15), Mississippi (-0.14), and Florida (-0.14). However, in both 2004 and 2005, Florida remained overrepresented among recruits, with a 2005 recruit-to-population ratio of 1.02. From 2003 to 2005, 26 states had little variation (0.05 or less) in their recruit-to-population ratio.
As support for the war in Iraq has declined, criticism of the war has translated into criticism of our nation's troops, at least by way of criticizing the quality of wartime recruits. The November 2005 Heritage Foundation study found that recruits enlisting at the start of the war were of high quality and in many respects comparable to the youth population. This updated report's examination of three years of wartime recruits shows that recruit quality has not declined.
The estimate for mean household income of recruits increased every year from 2003 through 2005. The poorest areas continue to be underrepresented, while middle-class areas are overrepresented. Although the richest income brackets are underrepresented, the difference between the recruit and population proportions for these brackets is less than 0.25 percent. Overall, the distribution for recruit household incomes is very similar to that of the youth population.
The military continues to enforce educational standards in its recruiting process. The high school graduation rate among recruits is higher than it is among the national youth population. While the active-duty enlisted ranks have fewer college graduates than the comparable civilian population, DOD annual updates on population representation indicate that many who join the military are taking advantage of educational opportunities while serving and that many others continue their education after completing their enlistment period.
The enlisted ranks are not disproportionately composed of minorities. Whites serve in numbers roughly proportional to their representation in the population. While blacks continue to be overrepresented, their representation has decreased during the wartime years and is much closer to being proportional in 2005 than it was in 2003. Additionally, recruiters are not targeting black-concentrated areas in an effort to exploit the black population.
Wartime recruits come more from rural areas, particularly from the South. However, many states outside of the South, such as Alaska and Montana, continue to have strong proportional representation. Areas classified as entirely urban are strongly underrepresented compared to areas with increased rural concentrations, all of which were overrepresented.
Overall, the wartime recruits are more similar than dissimilar to their civilian counterparts. The all-volunteer force displays near proportional representation of income backgrounds. Whites serve in approximate proportion to their population, although representation of minority groups varies. Recruits must meet educational standards, and the military provides resources for furthering education to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend four-year colleges. Although rural representation is disproportional, the military offers the opportunity to gain new skills and enter industries that are not available in rural areas.
With regard to income, education, race, and regional background, the all-volunteer force is representative of our nation and meets standards set by Congress and the Department of Defense. In contrast to the patronizing slanders of antiwar critics, recruit quality is increasing as the war in Iraq continues. Although recent recruiting goals have been difficult to meet, reenlistment is strong and recruit quality remains high. No evidence supports arguments for reinstating the draft or altering recruiting policies to achieve more equitable representation.
Tim Kane, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for International Trade and Economics at The Heritage Foundation.
This report was prepared by integrating data sets from the Department of Defense and the Census Bureau. The recruitment data were provided by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness at the request of The Heritage Foundation. Each recruit studied has a ZIP code for home of record, which was matched with Census data for the corresponding ZIP code tabulation area (ZCTA). The data sets and our integration methodology are further described in this appendix. This study focuses exclusively on the demographics of the volunteers in the enlisted ranks of the military, specifically those accessions who were never previously in the military.
This report updates the previous study with data on all U.S. recruits during 2004 and 2005. Nationwide data from Census 2000 and the Census 2004 American Community Survey were used as a baseline for population comparison. Census 2000 is the most recent publicly available data set that classifies demographics information by ZIP code; therefore, all ZIP code analysis utilizes these data. National and statewide statistics utilize 2004 data from the ACS. In using the Census 2000 data, this report relies on demographics information for the population ages 18-24 whenever possible.
DOD Recruit Data
The DOD recruit data are divided into two sets: October 2003-September 2004 Active Duty Non-Prior Service (NPS) Enlisted Accessions and October 2004-September 2005 Active Duty NPS Enlisted Accessions, which are referred to throughout the report as the 2004 and 2005 cohorts, respectively. The report also cites information from a previous Heritage Foundation study that examined October 1998-September 1999 Active Duty NPS Enlisted Accessions and January 2003-September 2003 Active Duty NPS Accessions.
In the previous study, only the last three-fourths of the recruits for fiscal year (FY) 2003 were analyzed due to changes in DOD recording aimed to meet new demographics guidelines set by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). A complete data set for all of the FY 2003 recruits was obtained for this report.
The 2003 data cover 176,410 recruits, the 2004 data cover 175,977 recruits, and the 2005 data cover 149,462 recruits. Each individual recruit record in the data includes hometown ZIP code, race/ethnicity code, and educational code. The data include accessions for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. None of these data sets includes data for the Reserve or National Guard components.
Race Data. Census categories allow for any combination of six races (American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, black or African-American, White, or Other. The recruit data after the first quarter of FY 2003 reflect this same structure with the exception of not including a category for Other. Additionally, some recruits did not complete the questions regarding race and are therefore categorized as Declined to Respond. Both the Census data and recruit data use a Hispanic indicator identified separately from race, to which some recruits also did not respond.
Invalid Recruit ZIP Codes. For some recruits, the home-of-record ZIP code either is invalid (according to the U.S. Postal Service) or corresponds to an area that is not included in the Census. For example, recognition by the Postal Service but exclusion from the Census could indicate a military ZIP code or a U.S. territory. Puerto Rico is included in both the Census and the recruit data and was included in all of the analysis done for this paper.
Individual records that could not be sorted by valid ZIP code were excluded from our analysis using ZIP codes. Five-digit ZIP codes/ZCTAs were used for income and regional analysis. Some of the analysis of race used three-digit ZCTAs (corresponding to the first three digits of a ZIP code/ ZCTA) to assess racial concentration. The Census Bureau only publishes race data using three-digit ZCTAs. Thus, no recruits were excluded from the analysis of recruits belonging to areas of specific racial concentrations. There are 33,178 five-digit ZCTAs and 887 three-digit ZCTAs.
Data were taken from the United States Census 2000, Summary File 1 and Summary File 3, and the United States Census 2004 ACS. The data from Summary File 1 are collected for the whole population, and Summary File 3 and the 2004 ACS contain estimates from sample data. Regional analysis based on state populations utilized the data set for 2005 Population Estimates, which included estimates for 2004, in Table GCT-T1-R.
Income analysis for all recruit years used data from Census 2000 Summary File 3, Table P53 (Median Household Income). More recent data by ZIP code/ZCTA are not publicly available.
Educational analysis for the 2004-2005 recruit cohorts used data for the population ages 18-24 from ACS Table S1501 (Educational Attainment) to assess proportionality on a national level, not by ZIP code. The previous report's analysis (1999 and 2003 recruit cohorts) relied on Summary File 3, Table PCT25 (Sex by Age by Educational Attainment for the Population 18 Years and Over), and used the age breakdown in this table to focus on the population ages 18-24.
Race analysis for the 2004-2005 recruit cohorts used data from ACS Table B02001 (Race) to assess proportionality on a national level, not by ZIP code. The previous report's analysis (1999 and 2003 recruit cohorts) used Summary File 1, Table P5 (Race for the Population 18 Years and Over), which includes information from the entire population. Data from Table P5 were also used to assess racial concentration by three-digit ZCTA.
Regional analysis used data from Summary File 1, Table P2 (Urban and Rural), to determine the rural concentration of a five-digit ZCTA. This table includes information gathered from the entire population.
The population count for ages 18-24 that was used for ZCTA-based analysis was taken from Summary File 3, Table PCT25. This represents estimates from sample data, and "population ages 18- 24" refers to this estimate of 27,498,361 for Census 2000. The more recent sample data for education in 2004 ACS give a sample-based estimate of 26,233,020 for the population ages 18-24. Summary File 1, which is representative of the whole population for Census 2000, reports the total population 18 years and over as 211,844,603. The 2004 ACS race reports a sample-based population estimate of 216,036,244.
Summary level 850 (three-digit ZCTA) was used in the analysis of race by concentration because race was not recorded on the five-digit ZCTA level for Census 2000. Summary level 860 (five-digit ZCTA) was used in income and regional analysis.
Individual recruit income data are not available. In computing the average household income for recruits, each recruit was assigned the median household income for his or her ZCTA.
The Census classifies some ZCTAs as only three-digit ZCTAs followed by either XX (large undeveloped areas or sparsely settled areas) or HH (island and water features). The Census reports some of these as having population and median income. Of these ZCTAs, 932 had no median income and no population ages 18-24 and were excluded from the quintile analysis.
After excluding recruits who listed hometown ZIP codes that did not correspond to Census ZCTAs or that corresponded to ZCTAs with median household incomes of $0, the analysis included 173,304 recruits from 2003, 172,511 recruits from 2004, and 146,293 recruits from 2005.
Recruits were compared to a sample-based estimate of the population ages 18-24 taken from the 2004 ACS Table S1501.
For the purpose of national proportional analysis, recruits were compared to the national population estimates in the 2004 ACS Table B02001 (total population estimate of 285,691,501). Analysis of recruit origins from racially concentrated ZCTAs utilized three-digit ZCTA data from Census Summary File 1, Table P5, for the population over the age of 18 (total population of 211,844,603).
ZCTAs with the Highest Concentration of Blacks. The concentration formula included any person who included black as a race in combination. The following ZCTAs have the highest concentrations of blacks according to Census 2000 Summary File 1, Table P5 (concentrations range from 24.10 percent to 68.63 percent): 071, 072, 073, 075, 081, 084, 086, 104, 112, 114, 116, 191, 200, 203, 207, 209, 212, 232, 233, 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 271, 274, 277, 278, 279, 282, 283, 290, 291, 292, 294, 295, 298, 299, 300, 302, 303, 304, 308, 309, 310, 312, 313, 314, 316, 317, 318, 319, 322, 323, 352, 354, 358, 360, 361, 364, 366, 367, 368, 369, 372, 374, 381, 386, 387, 389, 390, 391, 392, 393, 396, 397, 441, 464, 482, 485, 606, 631, 641, 661, 701, 705, 707, 708, 710, 711, 712, 713, 716, 717, 722, 723, 777, 903, 946, and 948.
ZCTAs with the Highest Concentration of Whites. The concentration formula included white as a race in any combination. The following ZCTAs have the highest concentration of whites according to Census 2000 Summary File 1, Table P5 (concentrations range from 97.7 percent to 100.0 percent): 032, 034, 035, 036, 038, 039, 040, 042, 043, 044, 045, 047, 048, 049, 050, 051, 052, 053, 056, 057, 058, 059, 133, 156, 157, 158, 160, 162, 163, 169, 173, 182, 186, 188, 195, 242, 252, 255, 261, 262, 263, 264, 266, 267, 268, 407, 411, 412, 412, 415, 416, 417, 418, 425, 426, 438, 451, 513, 514, 515, 516, 520, 521, 523, 525, 538, 540, 542, 547, 564, 574, 580, 584, 586, 593, 646, 647, 650, 656, 657, 669, 677, 683, 684, 690, 725, 726, 821, 828, and 831.
This portion of the analysis excluded recruits who listed home-of-record ZIP codes that are non-Census ZCTAs or ZCTAs with no total population. The analysis considers 173,321 recruits from 2003, 172,533 recruits from 2004, and 146,305 recruits from 2005.
The total population in urban/rural areas of each ZCTA was taken from Census Summary File 1, Table P2. This was used only to compute the rural concentration of each ZCTA. When recruits were compared to the proportion of the population in each ZCTA, they were compared to the population ages 18-24, taken from Census Summary File 3, Table PCT25. The information from Census 2000 represents the most recently available population estimates by five-digit ZCTA.
State and Census region/division comparisons were made comparing 2004 and 2005 recruits to the state population estimates for each year found in 2005 Population Estimates Table GCT-T1-R.