Saturday, May 22, 2010

Military fit-to-serve index by state

A report released a few months ago assessing the percentage of those aged 17-24 able to serve in the US military found three quarters unable to do so. That a majority of young Americans are deemed unfit to serve stems from three major causes: Poor health (including obesity), failure to graduate from high school, and the carrying of some sort of criminal record.

Data are reported for each of these inhibiting factors at the state level. Some people are unfit on more than one dimension, so it's not possible to calculate what percentage of each state's young adult population is able or unable to serve (given the percentages for each category, even if there was no overlap, statewide figures do not add up to 75% or more), and the report does not list statewide totals. So I have created a fit-to-serve index* based on these three major inhibiting factors. Higher values indicate a greater portion of the population being eligible for military service:

1. New Hampshire
2. Maine
3. North Dakota
4. Utah
5. Iowa
6. West Virginia
7. Vermont
8. Kansas
9. Montana
10. Wisconsin
11. South Dakota
12. Nebraska
13. Oklahoma
14. Virginia
15. Connecticut
16. Minnesota
17. New York
18. New Jersey
19. Wyoming
20. Missouri
21. Oregon
22. Illinois
23. Pennsylvania
24. Colorado
25. Hawaii
26. Maryland
27. California
28. Tennessee
29. Massachusetts
30. Washington
31. Kentucky
32. Rhode Island
33. Michigan
34. North Carolina
35. Arizona
36. Alaska
37. Ohio
38. Idaho
39. Indiana
40. Nevada
41. Arkansas
42. Delaware
43. Alabama
44. Florida
45. South Carolina
46. Texas
47. New Mexico
48. Mississippi
49. Louisiana
50. District of Columbia
51. Georgia

Fairly predictable, with a couple of exceptions. As is the case with so many other measures of desirable attributes, IQ correlates with the fit-to-serve index at .54 (p=0)

Massachusetts and Minnesota are both relatively far down the list compared to how these states measure on most desirable state rankings due to having the 5th and 7th highest, respectively, percentages of adults on parole, probation, in jail, or in prison among the states. Massachusetts' crime rates are surprisingly high for being an affluent, mostly white northeastern state that consistently tops the NAEP charts. I am not sure why Minnesota finds so many people on the wrong side of the law--the state's reported non drug-related crime statistics are stellar. Are there cities in Minnesota that are drug trafficking hubs for contraband coming in from Canada? Or am I missing something else?

Another interesting bit turned up in looking at per capita service rates by state. While red state populations are essentially no more (or less) able to serve than blue staters are--the correlation between ability to serve and voting for McCain in 2008 is a meaningless .06 (p=.69)--they are considerably more willing to do so. The correlation between the percentage of a state's population that signs up for military service and support for McCain in 2008 is .49 (p=0). Republicans are said to reserve greater hostility for the government than Democrats do, but in the case of the military, the parties have swapped spots.

* 118 + X (where X is 1 in every X adults in a state are on parole, probation, in jail, or in prison) - % of those aged 10-17 who are obese - % of those who fail to graduate from high school on time


Steve Sailer said...

West Virginia does better here than it usually does. I suspect West Virginia loses a lot of its smart folks, but the rest of its populations isn't particularly deteriorating.

Maine seems similar.

Steve Sailer said...

The military recruits by state table is interesting. The highest recruitment rates tend to be in northern west states like Montana. I guess those ranking are mostly Moynihan's "close to the Canadian border" effect.

It would be interesting to see a measurement of what percentage of people enlist in each state out of just those eligible.

Steve Sailer said...

Maybe you could just divide the percent recruited by your eligibility index number to come up with a rough estimate of desire to enlist.

Audacious Epigone said...


I've actually done that, though I didn't post it because it appeared to be too much of an inversion of the fit-to-serve index. The problem, I think, is that the prison/parole factor weighs too heavily on the overall number. What I'll do instead is convert that into a population percentage figure, add it to the other two, and flip the aggregate total for ease of viewing. From there, I'll be able to get a percentage of the young adult population that is deemed unfit to serve (albeit under the assumption that there is zero overlap among the three inhibiting factors, but since it's consistent across states, that shouldn't really matter), and then I'll again do just what you've suggested--which was what I was originally hoping to come up with when I started digging into the report in the first place!

Nanonymous said...

As is the case with so many other measures of desirable attributes, IQ correlates with the fit-to-serve index at .54 (p=0)

Of course it does but are you sure this 0.54 number is meaningful? (I assume it is an r). Your index is fairly arbitrary with a much larger variance between states than IQ. I think that if your index were percentile-normed then the correlation would be considerably higher.

silly girl said...

Ugh, page after page of that report trumpeting the benefits of pre k education, then on page 7 the charts of pre k ed. and graduation rates showing no relationship to graduating based on going to free public pre k. Do they think people can't read and think? Okay, dumb question. Do they think no one, even the more educated folks who likely would read it, would question it?

Audacious Epigone said...


Yes, probably so. That was just cursory. As described in my response to Steve, I'm going to make the index less arbitrary.

Silly girl,

Yeah, that struck me as really ridiculous. I'll correlate the two soon just for kicks, but just eyeballing it, there doesn't seem to be any relationship at all, yet it is trumpeted as being of great importance in the report itself.

ironrailsironweights said...

It's odd to see Georgia at the very bottom. Georgia normally is among the better southern states on most social indexes.


Richard Hoste said...

Just so you know, the organization that published this report is a liberal group that tries to make the nanny state seem conservative by calling trying to improve the population "national security."

kurt9 said...

Silly girl,

People in bureaucracies don't think, period. Its not that they thought they could slip this report past readers without them reading it critically. Its that they did not even think about this at all.

Mil-Tech Bard said...

Audacious Epigone said:

>Republicans are said to reserve
>greater hostility for the
>government than Democrats do, but
>in the case of the military, the
>parties have swapped spots.

The American military is the one profession where American "Blood and Soil Nationalists -- AKA Jacksonians -- can safely express themselves and uphold their values in government service.

The Democratic Party's purging of Jacksonian candidates in their primary's have left the Republican Party the default home of people holding such values because that is the only place they find political candidates that are attractive to them.

Note as well Walter Russell Mead said that Jacksonians are not anti-government. The are Amoral on the subject. They are against any government that does not give them at least their fair share of the goodies from the corrupt political process.

icr said...

The American military is the one profession where American "Blood and Soil Nationalists -- AKA Jacksonians -- can safely express themselves and uphold their values in government service.

That's some first class self-deception there, boy. The military is a tool of the Permanent Government, and the PG is Cultural Marxist (PC, Multiculti, Feminist) to the core. And how can you be a "blood-and-soil nationalist" for a
proposition nation?

Mil-Tech Bard said...


The American officer corps, and increasingly it's NCO corps, are dominated by multi-generational military families.

Go read "An Empire Wilderness: Travels into America's Future" by Robert D. Kaplan.

His descriptions of the belief structures of the American Army Officers he met in Kansas at the command and general staff school are very much "Blood and Soil" American Jacksonian.

And please note, American Jacksonians are an identifiable ethhnic tribe. They are in the main Scots-Irish and assimilated into Scot-Irish tradition "Ethnic Whites."

Catholic Eastern and southern European immigrants of the 1880-1918 period assimilated as Jacksonian whites two generations later.

This is something that Michael Barone linked to from his USN&WR blog that touched on this.

The real key in Arizona are their education laws knocking down LA RAZA eduction materials in public schools as it is enforcing illegal immigration laws.

It would not be at all surprising if Catholic Hispanics assimilated as American Jacksonians, barring the anti-assimilation "Aztlan" games the Left is playing in California and the South West education districts.

Mil-Tech Bard said...


Andrew Jackson, and "Jacksonians" as defined by Walter Russell Mead, are not the same.

Jacksonians believe in big government controlled by them and spending lots of tax money to benefit them, i.e., the great American middle class.


The National Interest Archives
Fall 1985 to Present

The Jacksonian Tradition
by Walter Russell Mead

… When it comes to Big Government, Jeffersonians worry more about the military than about anything else. But for Jacksonians, spending money on the military is one of the best things government can do. Yes, the Pentagon is inefficient and contractors are stealing the government blind. But by definition the work that the Defense Department does—defending the nation—is a service to the Jacksonian middle class. Yes, the Pentagon should spend its money more carefully, but let us not throw the baby out with the bath water. Stories about welfare abusers in limousines and foreign aid swindles generate more anger among Jacksonians than do stories of $600 hammers at the Pentagon …

… In economic as well as defense policy, for example, Jacksonian ideas are both influential and unique. Convinced that the prime purpose of government is to defend the living standards of the middle class, Jacksonian opinion is instinctively protectionist, seeking trade privileges for U.S. goods abroad and hoping to withhold those privileges from foreign exports. Jacksonians were once farmers; today they tend to be service and industrial workers. They see the preservation of American jobs, even at the cost of some unspecified degree of "economic efficiency", as the natural and obvious task of the federal government’s trade policy. Jacksonians can be convinced that a particular trade agreement operates to the benefit of American workers, but they need to be convinced over and over again. They are also skeptical, on both cultural and economic grounds, of the benefits of immigration, which is seen as endangering the cohesion of the folk community and introducing new, low-wage competition for jobs. Neither result strikes Jacksonian opinion as a suitable outcome for a desirable government policy ..”

icr said...

“As great a tragedy as this was, it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well,” the Army Chief of Staff also said Sunday. ~ Chief of Staff of the Army shortly after Ft. Hood jihad

We all know about the egregious Diversity-based coddling Hasan received before he went on his rampage.

What exactly are the values the "Scots-Irish" uphold in their military service? Anti-racism would surely be one-but directed only against the tainted white racism, not the officially sanctioned LaRaza or Black varieties. Beyond that it's probably limited to duty, honor, discipline and shiny boots. So the Red Army or the Wehrmacht (if they were still around) would serve them just as well.

I read the Kaplan book and I recall the officer-students contemplating using the military against domestic right-wing radicals. These guys are deep into the Evil White Guy mode of "analysis" endorsed by the SPLC and ADL.

I don't see how they can have any loyalty to a regime that hates the traditional American majority and clearly wants to dispossess it. The refusal to conduct more than
dog-and-pony show border enforcement on the Mexican border and the hysterical reaction to the AZ law proves their intentions. I realize that there are high rates of intermarriage between whites and Hispanics among the SW working class, but we have to recall that Bosnia had even higher rates of intermarriage among the three major groups at the time the genocidal civil war erupted.

Mil-Tech Bard said...


This is an e-mail I have from someone well versed on the various circa 2006 American military factions:

The election of a president that ordered a crackdown on "Islamophobics" with some Waco style "examples" would generate a complex, very low-scale with some spectacular successes, insurgency from the Right. Virtually guaranteed.

Especially if it was accompanied by a military drawdown or, worse, deployment to quell "civil unrest" in the US.

By the way, I don't see that happening fast or obviously, but it would probably happen. It would take about three years with such a president (Hillary has the best likelihood) and a couple of very poorly handled atrocities (ala Waco) in CONUS. I'd also anticipate laws against "hate speech" being extended to the blogosphere and talk-radio. More aggressive gun control legislation with enforcement being against "right wing gun nuts" while going soft on street crime.

At that point, individual hard-right conservatives would begin creating small cells and striking at soft, low-human-impact targets.

Think causing massive traffic jams. I mean _massive_. A hundred thousand people unable to move for a day. They would also, probably, start an assassination program aimed at notable leftists. Judges that released hardened criminals, left-wing politicians, academics that espouse far left positions, that sort of thing. Oh, and George Soros would have to spend all the money he sends to PACs on bodyguards.

Frankly, much of it would come from recently exited or at least former Special Forces. They tend to be _really_ conservative libertarians.

There was a group that was hammered, supposedly, out of existence in the 1990s which asked questions like: "At what point does our oath to defend the constitution against _domestic_ threats kick in?"

They're not gone by any stretch of the imagination. Think, if you will, what a few hundred Special Forces troops suddenly deserting and starting an insurgency with the political front program (come on, these guys know insurgency inside and out; the political front would be in place before the first bomb went off) in the US would be like.

(SEALs, Recon and Rangers are different. None of them is nearly as political for various reasons. They're more "Whatever the orders are." Delta I don't have a firm handle on.)

Mil-Tech Bard said...

And getting back to the HBD theme of the site, another comment from the same guy on American Special Forces related to my point on multi-generation military families.

It turns out you can chemically test for high end, hardcore, natural born killers:

There's a specific brain chemistry that turns out to be absolutely a requirement in special operations. And it's f**king inherent, nothing that you can teach. You either have it or you don't.

Every person tested in the SEALs and Delta has the brain chemistry. (Release of a natural tranquilizer under stress.) Absent that chemistry you simply cannot reach their level of 'hardcore.'

Mil-Tech Bard said...

While this 2007 link is likely dead:

I still have the article about the demographics of the war dead in Iraq.

AP: War losses mount for small towns

By KIMBERLY HEFLING, Associated Press Writer
Tue Feb 20, 12:05 PM ET

Many of the hometowns of the war dead aren't just small, they're poor.

The AP analysis found that nearly three quarters of those killed in
Iraq came from towns where the per capita income was below the
national average. More than half came from towns where the percentage of people living in poverty topped the national average.

Some are old factory towns like McKeesport, once home to U.S. Steel's National Tube Works, which employed 8,000 people in its heyday. Now, residents' average income is just 60 percent of the national average, and one in eight lives below the federal poverty line.

On a per capita basis, states with mostly rural populations have suffered the highest fatalities in Iraq. Vermont, South Dakota,
Alaska, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Delaware, Montana, Louisiana and Oregon top the list, the AP found.

In terms of the 2007 high per capita death rate states, the ratio of red/blue states was 7 to 2.

The only place on that list with a significant NAM population percentage was Louisiana.

The states listed in that 2007 article were also a reflection of the National Guard units rotating through Iraq in 2006-07, but small, poor, remote, and rural -- that was core Bush territory, core
fundamentalist territory, and one big part of what makes the red states red.

Anything that lands disproportionately there fell
disproportionately on smalltown/rural residents who live some distance from a large city -- and are poor.

It probably hit Baptists a lot harder than Episcopalians, and
more football fans and fewer baseball and basketball fans than is proportionate nationwide too.

(Just check out the military recruiting ads on football versus baseball.)

As for whether the rural poor are patriotic because the Army is a good place for them and being patriotic makes it easier to make that decision, or the Army is a comfortable place for the poor because they are patriotic, the answer, as with any "or" question about human beings, is yes.

And note as well that a lot of the heavily recruited rural areas in the lower per capita states mentioned in that article -- Pennsylvania for one -- are in scots-irish Appalachia.

There's a festering anger there. Because they have sent their sons and daughters to, as they saw it, to avenge 9/11.

They don't care if the vengence is directed against Sunni or Shia or Afghanis or Taliban or Pushtun or Pakistanis or Palestinians or Iranians or Azeri.

They are all "ragheads" to them.

They also see that the very people they marched out to support, the leftists in places like DC, NYC and LA, calling them idiots and "disadvantaged" and baby-killers and mercenaries.

They saw people like Rep. John Murtha promising to "slow-bleed" their sons and daughters. They saw the leftists killing our country in the same way that they killed its heart with Vietnam. And the veterans now have a much greater appreciation for how evil the Left truly is.

At that time, they were beginning to openly talk about who the true enemy is. And not only the never-served in those towns, but the retirees, the guys who got out after eight years and got a college degree and stayed around home, as lawyers and bankers and farmers. You know, the guys who watch NASCAR, hunt with bow or rifle and really like things that go boom.

That slow bleed has been turning into slow burn. Bush's collapse of will as a politcal leader turned these people against him.

Obama's games have brought them back to the Republican banner for a lack of any other.

Hopefully the Tea Party's will divert that anger in 2010 and 2012.

If not, we are looking at the 1930's Left/Right Spanish Civil War coming to America.

Kelly Thomson said...

Hi Audacious Epigone,

Are you saying that the 75% statement is incorrect? The #s don't add up and if there is overlap, it's most certainly wrong, no?

Thanks for your reply