Do you really know the reasons people enlist in the military today? With more than 150,000 people enlisting in one of the branches of the United States Military every year, it’s interesting to see why they enlist. Some believe the military recruits the uneducated minorities with no other option. However, this isn’t the case and many military members don’t appreciate this stereotype.
Here’s a look at who is enlisting and why they choose to serve the country.
Middle to Upper-Middle Class Military Members
While the myth may say the military recruits the poor, a study from the Heritage Foundation found this isn’t true. The majority of soldiers come from middle to upper-middle-class families and the lowest income neighborhoods in the country are the most underrepresented in the military.
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Part of the reason for this is that you have to meet the military qualifications, which include a high school diploma or equivalent. The new GI Bill also draws those in the middle class because of the free college making it easier to get an education without being saddled with student loan debt.
Many Join for Education
One of the top reasons people enlist in the military is for the education. Not only do they gain training for their job, but they also gain the ability to get a degree once they have finished their service. While those in the military with college degrees is much lower than those out of the military, the veterans age 25 and older get college degrees as a higher rate.
In addition, military members are more likely to have a high school diploma with 99% achieving a high school diploma before joining the military compared to just 86% of civilians getting a diploma.
Military Members are Not Mainly Minorities
While the myth will say the military targets minorities, the largest percentage of recruits are white or black with a small percentage being Hispanic.
It really comes down to the simple fact that many people enlist because they feel pride in serving their country or they want to gain the many educational benefits given to military members. It’s not all about coming from a poor, uneducated background without any other options. In fact, this isn’t even a top reason why people enlist.