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States sending the most young people to the military

  • States sending the most young people to the military
    1/ Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

    States sending the most young people to the military

    In spite of being one of the world’s preeminent superpowers, the United States has some laws that are simply mind-boggling to citizens and foreigners alike. Someone must be 21 years of age to purchase a six-pack of beer, yet with parental permission, that same person could have already been a member of the American military for four years. While confusing, it is the law of the land. Being able to join the military at the age of 18 has resulted in many courageous young adults committing to the pursuit of defending their country.

    Active duty military personnel have grown older on average over the past 40 years, with the average officer now 34.5 years old and the average enlisted member 27, and there are still just under 150,000 enlistees between the ages of 18 and 24. And while citizens from all corners of the United States join the Armed Forces, there exists significant variation in numbers on a state-by-state basis.

    Using 2016 data from this CNA Corporation report, Stacker listed the states sending the most young people to the military. All 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, are ranked according to their relative representation ratios: each state’s percentage of the nation’s 18-to-24-year olds weighed against their percentage of the military’s enlistees in the same age range.

    Read on to see how many young people from your state are signing up for careers in national defense!

    RELATED: 82 top-rated charities for supporting the military, veterans, and their families

  • #51. Washington, D.C.
    2/ Nicolas Raymond // Flickr

    #51. Washington, D.C.

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 80,141
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 99
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.12%
    Representation ratio: 0.29

  • #50. North Dakota
    3/ Ron Reiring // Wikicommons

    #50. North Dakota

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 91,112
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 203
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.22%
    Representation ratio: 0.53

  • #49. Massachusetts
    4/ Ken Lund // Flickr

    #49. Massachusetts

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 704,251
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 1,913
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.27%
    Representation ratio: 0.57

  • #48. Rhode Island
    5/ Will Hart // Wikimedia Commons

    #48. Rhode Island

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 114,376
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 316
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.28%
    Representation ratio: 0.58

  • #47. New York
    6/ Andrés Nieto Porras // Flickr

    #47. New York

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 1,905,051
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 6,378
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.33%
    Representation ratio: 0.65

  • #46. Utah
    7/ Garrett // Wikimedia Commons

    #46. Utah

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 343,283
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 1,051
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.31%
    Representation ratio: 0.69

  • #45. Iowa
    8/ JoshWest.com // Flickr

    #45. Iowa

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 322,097
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 996
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.31%
    Representation ratio: 0.70

  • #44. Vermont
    9/ Public Domain Pictures

    #44. Vermont

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 67,743
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 184
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.27%
    Representation ratio: 0.71

  • #43. Minnesota
    10/ Doug Kerr // Wikimedia Commons

    #43. Minnesota

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 507,542
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 1,609
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.32%
    Representation ratio: 0.71

  • #42. New Jersey
    11/ King of Hearts // Wikimedia Commons

    #42. New Jersey

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 786,743
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 2,901
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.37%
    Representation ratio: 0.71

  • #41. Wisconsin
    12/ GoodFreePhotos

    #41. Wisconsin

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 561,861
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 2,033
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.36%
    Representation ratio: 0.75

  • #40. Pennsylvania
    13/ Jordan // Flickr

    #40. Pennsylvania

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 1,187,598
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 4,924
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.41%
    Representation ratio: 0.79

  • #39. Nebraska
    14/ Pat Hawks // Flickr

    #39. Nebraska

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 192,718
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 766
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.40%
    Representation ratio: 0.80

  • #38. Michigan
    15/ Ken Lund/ Wikimedia Commons

    #38. Michigan

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 975,645
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 3,800
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.39%
    Representation ratio: 0.81

  • #37. Connecticut
    16/ JJBers // Flickr

    #37. Connecticut

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 352,024
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 1,347
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.38%
    Representation ratio: 0.83

  • #36. Illinois
    17/ Tony Webster // Flickr

    #36. Illinois

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 1,214,511
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 5,261
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.43%
    Representation ratio: 0.83

  • #35. South Dakota
    18/ Jon Platek // Wikicommons

    #35. South Dakota

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 84,605
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 318
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.38%
    Representation ratio: 0.84

  • #34. Kentucky
    19/ OPMaster // Wikimedia Commons

    #34. Kentucky

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 419,965
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 1,750
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.42%
    Representation ratio: 0.86

  • #33. California
    20/ giuseppemilo // Flickr

    #33. California

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 3,848,787
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 17,729
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.46%
    Representation ratio: 0.88

  • #32. Louisiana
    21/ Antrell Williams // Flickr

    #32. Louisiana

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 442,533
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 2,099
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.47%
    Representation ratio: 0.88

  • #31. Kansas
    22/ Kansas Statehouse //Flickr

    #31. Kansas

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 297,133
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 1,202
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.40%
    Representation ratio: 0.90

  • #30. West Virginia
    23/ GoodFreePhotos

    #30. West Virginia

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 161,635
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 767
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.47%
    Representation ratio: 0.91

  • #29. Montana
    24/ Pruhter // Wikimedia Commons

    #29. Montana

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 99,302
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 454
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.46%
    Representation ratio: 0.93

  • #28. Mississippi
    25/ NatalieMaynor // Flickr

    #28. Mississippi

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 295,917
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 1,428
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.48%
    Representation ratio: 0.95

  • #27. Indiana
    26/ Jasssmit // Wikimedia Commons

    #27. Indiana

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 661,254
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 2,922
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.44%
    Representation ratio: 0.98

  • #26. Delaware
    27/ likeaduck // Flickr

    #26. Delaware

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 85,584
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 372
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.43%
    Representation ratio: 1.00

  • #25. New Hampshire
    28/ John Phelan // Wikimedia Commons

    #25. New Hampshire

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 127,516
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 624
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.49%
    Representation ratio: 1.05

  • #24. Maryland
    29/ Joe Wolf // Flickr

    #24. Maryland

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 546,861
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 2,841
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.52%
    Representation ratio: 1.05

  • #23. Ohio
    30/ Chris Gent // Wikimedia Commons

    #23. Ohio

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 1,075,485
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 5,368
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.50%
    Representation ratio: 1.06

  • #22. Tennessee
    31/ GoodFreePhotos

    #22. Tennessee

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 617,867
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 3,239
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.52%
    Representation ratio: 1.06

  • #21. Idaho
    32/ Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce // Flickr

    #21. Idaho

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 156,563
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 876
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.56%
    Representation ratio: 1.08

  • #20. Wyoming
    33/ Michel Rathwell // Flickr

    #20. Wyoming

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 55,188
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 278
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.50%
    Representation ratio: 1.09

  • #19. New Mexico
    34/ Ken Lund // Flickr

    #19. New Mexico

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 200,362
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 1,058
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.53%
    Representation ratio: 1.09

  • #18. Arkansas
    35/ Bruce W. Stracener // Wikimedia Commons

    #18. Arkansas

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 281,738
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 1,370
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.49%
    Representation ratio: 1.11

  • #17. Maine
    36/ Ken Lund // Flickr

    #17. Maine

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 110,283
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 562
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.51%
    Representation ratio: 1.11

  • #16. Oklahoma
    37/ Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau // Wikimedia Commons

    #16. Oklahoma

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 383,081
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 1,977
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.52%
    Representation ratio: 1.11

  • #15. Oregon
    38/ M.O. Stevens // Wikimedia Commons

    #15. Oregon

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 365,578
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 1,928
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.53%
    Representation ratio: 1.11

  • #14. North Carolina
    39/ John Ashley // Flickr

    #14. North Carolina

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 966,234
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 5,453
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.56%
    Representation ratio: 1.11

  • #13. Washington
    40/ tseedmund // Flickr

    #13. Washington

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 661,194
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 3,347
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.51%
    Representation ratio: 1.14

  • #12. Missouri
    41/ Sam valadi // Flickr

    #12. Missouri

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 578,691
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 2,948
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.51%
    Representation ratio: 1.17

  • #11. Texas
    42/ Alan Botting // Wikimedia Commons

    #11. Texas

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 2,767,722
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 16,139
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.58%
    Representation ratio: 1.20

  • #10. Alabama
    43/ IIP Photo Archive // Flickr

    #10. Alabama

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 459,616
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 2,915
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.63%
    Representation ratio: 1.24

  • #9. Alaska
    44/ Paxson Woelber // Flickr

    #9. Alaska

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 75,274
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 460
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.61%
    Representation ratio: 1.26

  • #8. Hawaii
    45/ Anthony Quintano // Flickr

    #8. Hawaii

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 128,771
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 892
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.69%
    Representation ratio: 1.28

  • #7. Colorado
    46/ Larry Johnson // Flickr

    #7. Colorado

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 534,131
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 2,774
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.52%
    Representation ratio: 1.29

  • #6. Arizona
    47/ Alan Stark // Flickr

    #6. Arizona

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 672,268
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 3,947
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.59%
    Representation ratio: 1.31

  • #5. Nevada
    48/ IIP Photo Archive // Flickr

    #5. Nevada

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 250,225
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 1,614
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.65%
    Representation ratio: 1.31

  • #4. Virginia
    49/ Jim // Wikimedia Commons

    #4. Virginia

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 812,207
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 4,900
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.60%
    Representation ratio: 1.37

  • #3. South Carolina
    50/ Khanrak // Wikimedia Commons

    #3. South Carolina

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 468,536
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 3,014
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.64%
    Representation ratio: 1.42

  • #2. Florida
    51/ Tobias Scheck // Flickr

    #2. Florida

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 1,739,623
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 11,552
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.66%
    Representation ratio: 1.43

  • #1. Georgia
    52/ Reinhard Kraasch // Wikimedia Commons

    #1. Georgia

    State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 1,005,386
    18-to-24-year-olds enlisted (no prior experience): 6,758
    Percent of young state population enlisted: 0.67%
    Representation ratio: 1.50

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