Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

States with the highest rates of military enlistment

  • States with the highest rates of military enlistment
    1/ 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

  • #51. District of Columbia
    2/ Master Sgt. Craig Clapper // Air National Guard

    #51. District of Columbia

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

  • #50. North Dakota
    3/ SMSgt David H. Lipp // Air National Guard

    #50. North Dakota

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

  • #49. Massachusetts
    4/ Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey // Air National Guard

    #49. Massachusetts

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

  • #48. Rhode Island
    5/ 2nd Class Shane Arrington // Army National Guard

    #48. Rhode Island

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

  • #47. New York
    6/ United States Navy // Wikimedia Commons

    #47. New York

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

  • #46. Utah
    7/ TSgt. Jeremy Giacoletto-Stegall // USAF

    #46. Utah

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

  • #45. Iowa
    8/ US Army // Wikimedia Commons

    #45. Iowa

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

  • #44. Minnesota
    9/ Capt. Nathan T. Wallin // DOD

    #44. Minnesota

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

  • #43. New Jersey
    10/ Sgt. 1st Class Mark Bell // US Army Reserve

    #43. New Jersey

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

  • #42. Vermont
    11/ Master Sgt. Rob Trubia // USAF

    #42. Vermont

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

  • #41. Wisconsin
    12/ Unknown // Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs

    #41. Wisconsin

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

  • #40. Pennsylvania
    13/ Master Sgt. Culeen Shaffer // USAF

    #40. Pennsylvania

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

  • #39. Nebraska
    14/ The National Guard // Wikimedia Commons

    #39. Nebraska

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

  • #38. Michigan
    15/ Staff Sgt. Thomas Vega // Michigan National Guard

    #38. Michigan

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

  • #37. Connecticut
    16/ The National Guard // Wikimedia Commons

    #37. Connecticut

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

  • #36. Illinois
    17/ Staff Sgt. Lealan Buehrer // USAF

    #36. Illinois

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

  • #35. South Dakota
    18/ The National Guard // Flickr

    #35. South Dakota

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

  • #34. Kentucky
    19/ Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond // Kentucky National Guard

    #34. Kentucky

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

  • #33. California
    20/ Staff Sgt. Alicia R. Leaders // USMC

    #33. California

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

  • #32. Louisiana
    21/ Army Cyber // Wikimedia Commons

    #32. Louisiana

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

  • #31. Kansas
    22/ US Army

    #31. Kansas

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

  • #30. West Virginia
    23/ The National Guard // Flickr

    #30. West Virginia

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

  • #29. Montana
    24/ John Turner // USAF

    #29. Montana

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

  • #28. Mississippi
    25/ Kemberly Groue // USAF

    #28. Mississippi

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

  • #27. Indiana
    26/ STAFF SGT. RUSSELL LEE KLIKA // Wikimedia Commons

    #27. Indiana

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

  • #26. Delaware
    27/ Unknown // USAF

    #26. Delaware

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

  • #25. Maryland
    28/ 3rd Class Taylor DiMartino // Navy Live

    #25. Maryland

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

  • #24. New Hampshire
    29/ The National Guard // Flickr

    #24. New Hampshire

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

  • #23. Ohio
    30/ Sgt. Andrew Kuhn // DOD

    #23. Ohio

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

  • #22. Tennessee
    31/ Staff Sgt. Jon McCallum // afrc.af.mil

    #22. Tennessee

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

  • #21. Idaho
    32/ Airman 1st Class Renishia Richardson // USAF

    #21. Idaho

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

  • #20. New Mexico
    33/ Dennis Carlson // USAF

    #20. New Mexico

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

  • #19. Wyoming
    34/ Airman 1st Class Luke W. Nowakowski // USAF

    #19. Wyoming

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

  • #18. Arkansas
    35/ Master Sgt. Michel Sauret // Wikimedia Commons

    #18. Arkansas

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

  • #17. Maine
    36/ The National Guard // Flickr

    #17. Maine

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

  • #16. North Carolina
    37/ Cpl. Justin Updegraff // USMC

    #16. North Carolina

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

  • #15. Oklahoma
    38/ The National Guard // Flickr

    #15. Oklahoma

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

  • #14. Oregon
    39/ Oregon National Guard // Flickr

    #14. Oregon

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

  • #13. Washington
    40/ Sgt. 1st Class Jason Kriess // Wikimedia Commons

    #13. Washington

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

  • #12. Missouri
    41/ Tech. Sgt. Traci Howells // Air National Guard

    #12. Missouri

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

  • #11. Texas
    42/ Benjamin Faske // USAF

    #11. Texas

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

  • #10. Alabama
    43/ Senior Master Sgt. Ken Johnson // USAF

    #10. Alabama

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

  • #9. Alaska
    44/ Capt. Virginia Lang // USAF DOD

    #9. Alaska

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

  • #8. Hawaii
    45/ Sgt. Christopher O’Quin // USMC

    #8. Hawaii

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

  • #7. Colorado
    46/ Tech. Sgt. Jared Marquis // USAF

    #7. Colorado

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

  • #6. Arizona
    47/ Arizona National Guard // Flickr

    #6. Arizona

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

  • #5. Nevada
    48/ Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz // USAF

    #5. Nevada

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

  • #4. Virginia
    49/ Ashley Calingo // doncino.navy.mil

    #4. Virginia

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

  • #3. South Carolina
    50/ SC National Guard // Flickr

    #3. South Carolina

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

  • #2. Florida
    51/ 2nd Class Marcus L. Stanley // USN

    #2. Florida

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

  • #1. Georgia
    52/ GA National Guard // Flickr

    #1. Georgia

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

2018 All rights reserved.