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States sending the most young people to the military

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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 for many, 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, according to Pew Research, 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 a 2017 report from CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis organization, 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.

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Nicolas Raymond // Flickr

#51. Washington D.C.

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 63,780 (0.22% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 80 (0.05% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.23

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Ron Reiring // Wikimedia Commons

#50. North Dakota

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 72,089 (0.25% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 189 (0.12% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.49

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Public Domain Pictures

#49. Vermont

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 58,981 (0.20% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 176 (0.11% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.55

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Ken Lund // Flickr

#48. Massachusetts

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 624,341 (2.13% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 1,993 (1.26% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.59

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Will Hart // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Rhode Island

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 90,580 (0.31% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 299 (0.19% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.61

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Garrett // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Utah

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 342,043 (1.17% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 1,132 (0.72% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.61

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Doug Kerr // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Minnesota

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 468,872 (1.60% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 1,601 (1.01% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.63

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Tony Webster // Flickr

#44. Iowa

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 289,193 (0.99% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 998 (0.63% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.64

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Jon Platek // Wikimedia Commons

#43. South Dakota

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 88,271 (0.30% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 310 (0.20% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.65

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King of Hearts // Wikimedia Commons

#42. New Jersey

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 813,762 (2.78% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 2,932 (1.86% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.67

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Andrés Nieto Porras // Flickr

#41. New York

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 1,799,758 (6.14% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 6,690 (4.24% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.69

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Pixabay

#40. Wisconsin

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 522,161 (1.78% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 2,107 (1.34% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.75

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Jordan // Flickr

#39. Pennsylvania

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 1,109,834 (3.79% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 4,905 (3.11% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.82

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Ken Lund/ Wikimedia Commons

#38. Michigan

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 851,977 (2.91% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 3,816 (2.42% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.83

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John9474 // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Connecticut

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 297,126 (1.01% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 1,337 (0.85% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.84

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Tony Webster // Flickr

#36. Illinois

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 1,190,705 (4.07% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 5,387 (3.41% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.84

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Pat Hawks // Flickr

#35. Nebraska

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 180,822 (0.62% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 822 (0.52% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.84

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Jasssmit // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Indiana

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 659,022 (2.25% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 3,030 (1.92% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.85

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likeaduck // Flickr

#33. Delaware

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 82,414 (0.28% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 389 (0.25% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.88

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GoodFreePhotos

#32. West Virginia

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 158,238 (0.54% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 792 (0.50% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.93

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tseedmund // Flickr

#31. Washington

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 673,669 (2.30% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 3,372 (2.14% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.93

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Kansas Statehouse //Flickr

#30. Kansas

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 269,903 (0.92% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 1,352 (0.86% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.93

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OPMaster // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Kentucky

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 381,563 (1.30% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 1,921 (1.22% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.93

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giuseppemilo // Flickr

#28. California

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 3,797,205 (12.96% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 19,698 (12.49% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.96

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Chris Gent // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Ohio

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 1,083,741 (3.70% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 5,715 (3.62% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.98

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Pruhter // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Montana

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 85,932 (0.29% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 455 (0.29% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.98

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NatalieMaynor // Flickr

#25. Mississippi

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 268,473 (0.92% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 1,422 (0.90% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.98

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Antrell Williams // Flickr

#24. Louisiana

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 435,565 (1.49% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 2,310 (1.46% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.98

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Ken Lund // Flickr

#23. Maine

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 106,426 (0.36% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 566 (0.36% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 0.99

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John Phelan // Wikimedia Commons

#22. New Hampshire

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 113,342 (0.39% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 618 (0.39% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.01

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Bruce W. Stracener // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Arkansas

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 263,852 (0.90% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 1,457 (0.92% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.03

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Sam valadi // Flickr

#20. Missouri

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 523,138 (1.79% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 2,905 (1.84% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.03

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Joe Wolf // Flickr

#19. Maryland

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 496,509 (1.70% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 2,766 (1.75% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.03

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Michel Rathwell // Flickr

#18. Wyoming

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 50,691 (0.17% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 283 (0.18% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.04

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Ken Lund // Flickr

#17. New Mexico

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 204,967 (0.70% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 1,201 (0.76% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.09

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Alan Stark // Flickr

#16. Arizona

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 678,126 (2.32% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 4,072 (2.58% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.11

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GoodFreePhotos

#15. Tennessee

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 563,894 (1.93% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 3,401 (2.16% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.12

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M.O. Stevens // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Oregon

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 327,953 (1.12% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 1,992 (1.26% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.13

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Jim // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Virginia

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 755,328 (2.58% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 4,746 (3.01% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.17

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Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce // Flickr

#12. Idaho

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 154,497 (0.53% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 972 (0.62% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.17

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#11. Oklahoma

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 331,638 (1.13% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 2,140 (1.36% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.20

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John Ashley // Flickr

#10. North Carolina

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 929,048 (3.17% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 6,084 (3.86% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.22

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IIP Photo Archive // Flickr

#9. Nevada

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 257,013 (0.88% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 1,686 (1.07% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.22

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IIP Photo Archive // Flickr

#8. Alabama

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 465,288 (1.59% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 3,077 (1.95% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.23

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Alan Botting // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Texas

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 2,677,867 (9.14% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 17,811 (11.29% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.23

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Larry Johnson // Flickr

#6. Colorado

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 459,886 (1.57% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 3,070 (1.95% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.24

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Reinhard Kraasch // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Georgia

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 942,786 (3.22% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 6,654 (4.22% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.31

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Tobias Scheck // Flickr

#4. Florida

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 1,655,581 (5.65% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 12,396 (7.86% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.39

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Paxson Woelber // Flickr

#3. Alaska

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 64,842 (0.22% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 492 (0.31% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.41

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Anthony Quintano // Flickr

#2. Hawaii

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 118,116 (0.40% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 944 (0.60% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.48

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Khanrak // Wikimedia Commons

#1. South Carolina

- State population of 18-to-24 year-olds: 387,583 (1.32% of young Americans)
- 18-to-24-year-old enlistees with no prior experience: 3,191 (2.02% of young American enlistees)
- Representation ratio: 1.53

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