According to numbers compiled by Business Insider, North Dakota has the lowest military recruitment rate in the nation.
“According to data provided by the Department of Defense, people between the ages of 18 and 24 from Florida, Georgia, or Maine, are as around twice as likely to join the armed forces than their counterparts in states like North Dakota or Utah,” reads the report.
In fiscal year 2013, North Dakota provided just 169 enlistees to all branches of the military, by far the lowest number and rate in the nation. North Dakota just barely beat out the District of Columbia, which provided 109 recruits.
I was surprised that North Dakota ranked so low in military recruitment – if I’d had to guess, I would have said the stated ranked toward the top of the list – and immediately I thought the state’s economic conditions might have something to do with it.
More economic opportunities for young North Dakotans – particularly young men, given the booming oil industry – might translate into lower recruitment statistics. But it appears as though low recruitment numbers are the norm for North Dakota.
I looked up the numbers and from 2007 to 2010 – which would represent the dawn of the oil boom in North Dakota – the state ranked 50th out of 50th in recruitment rate (defined as the number of recruits per 1,000 citizens aged 18-24).
So, it seems like North Dakotans are, at least in recent years, not all that fond of military service.
Still, North Dakota’s economic prosperity (if not the boom era) preceded 2007 by quite a bit. And North Dakota does have one of the highest rates of college attendance in the nation.