Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Press release from the National Priorities Project:New data about US Army recruits

As the U.S. Military begins offering citizenship for service to fill its ranks ...
The National Priorities Project releases a new report:

Recruitment 2008: Age, Race, Income, Education

National Priorities Project (NPP) finds a drop in age among new recruits, an over representation of low- and middle-income individuals,an increase in Black recruits and a decrease in Hispanic recruits

Online Tool Allows the Public to Analyze Army Databy State, County, Zip Code, Education Level, "Quality of Recruit"


NORTHAMPTON, MA – A new NPP analysis notes a significant drop in age among new recruits. Using census material, combined with data on 2008 Army enlistment obtained through a Freedom of Information Act, NPP research also uncovers a continued over representation of recruits from low- and middle-income families, an increase in Black recruits, decrease in Hispanic recruits and important education trends.

This work is a result of an expanded NPP initiative, which now includes a database of 2004-2008 military recruitment numbers broken down by zip code, county and state. A snapshot analysis and overview of current military recruitment data, which includes a ranking of counties by recruits per thousand youth, charts and tables on a particular county, zip code or state is available at http://www.nationalpriorities.org/.

"The education trends are striking," notes Suzanne Smith, Research Director for National Priorities Project. "While both Hispanic and Black recruits are more likely to have a high school diploma than whites, as a group they have lower AFQT scores. This finding makes us question their opportunities as enlisted personnel."
NPP's new data shows:
· Low- and middle income neighborhoods continue to be overrepresented. Active-duty Army recruits disproportionately come from low-to middle income neighborhoods. Neighborhood incomes in the lowest 10% of population were underrepresented, as were those in the top 20%.
· The age of new recruits fell. Fifty-two percent of new recruits in 2008 were below the age of 21. This is up from 48.5% in 2007.
· The percentage of recruits who are black has risen since 2005, increasing from 15% in 2005 to 16.6% in 2008. The sharpest increase was between 2007 and 2008.
· The percentage of new recruits who are Hispanic has fallen a full percentage point between 2005 and 2008, with 10.85% of new recruits identifying themselves as Hispanic.
· Both Hispanic and Black recruits are also more likely than whites to be women, and to come from low-income neighborhoods.
· Both Hispanic and Black recruits are more likely to have a high school diploma, but as a group have lower scores on the AFQT than white recruits.

Jo Comerford, NPP's Executive Director adds, "Even more striking than the finding that 52% of new recruits are below the age of 21 is the fact that 82.2% of new recruits are 24 or under. Once again we are compelled to note the Army's disproportionate reliance on young people, people of color and individuals from low- and middle-income families to fill its ranks. And this on the heels of the recent decision to recruit immigrants with temporary visas, offering them a fast-track to citizenship in exchange for service – because the Army still cannot meet its ever-expandng quotas."

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The National Priorities Project (NPP) is a 501(c)(3) research organization that analyzes and clarifies federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent. Located in Northampton, MA, since 1983, NPP focuses on the impact of federal spending and other policies at the national, state, congressional district and local levels. For more information, go to http://www.nationalpriorities.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=173058&qid=183708.

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