Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Another Cherished Stereotype Goes Down in Flames
Ann Marlowe at the Wall Street Journal asserts that the people who serve in the U.S. military are not there because they are the dregs of society with no other career options.
"In 2008, using data provided by the Defense Department, the Heritage Foundation found that only 11% of enlisted military recruits in 2007 came from the poorest one-fifth, or quintile, of American neighborhoods (as of the 2000 Census), while 25% came from the wealthiest quintile. Heritage reported that 'these trends are even more pronounced in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, in which 40% of enrollees come from the wealthiest neighborhoods, a number that has increased substantially over the past four years.'
"Indeed, the Heritage report showed that 'low-income families are underrepresented in the military and high-income families are overrepresented. Individuals from the bottom household income quintile make up 20.0 percent of Americans who are age 18-24 years old but only 10.6 percent of the 2006 recruits and 10.7 percent of the 2007 recruits. Individuals in the top two quintiles make up 40.0 percent of the population, but 49.3 percent of the recruits in both years.'
"What about the charge that our Army is disproportionately black? This too is false, as is clear from data for fiscal 2010 available on the Army's website: Whereas blacks comprise 17% of Americans ages 18-39 with high school degrees, they represent only a slightly larger proportion of enlisted soldiers, at 21%...."
The article goes on to say that these assumptions survive because the educated elites have little or no personal contact with the military.