Aerospace & Defense

This Is How Many People Are in the Army and Navy

The U.S. military is divided into several groups for categorization. The branches include the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. There is a new section of the Air Force called the Space Force. The Coast Guard, unlike the others, which are part of the U.S. Department of Defense, is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

There are also seven reserve components of the American military: Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve.

The military is relatively small now by past standards. At the end of the war in Vietnam, as the draft ended, active military personnel numbered 1.9 million. That is down to 1.3 million today.

The military pie is cut another way. Beyond the 1.3 million people on active duty, there are approximately 800,000 people in the reserves and another several hundred thousand civilian-military.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) reviewed the demographics of the military recently. The Marines are the “youngest” branch. Among enlisted activity duty personnel, 70% are 24 years old or younger. The comparable figure in the Coast Guard is 30%. Some of this has to do with the cut-off age for enlistment. For the Marines, it is 28. For the Navy, it is 34, for the Army 35 and for the Air Force and Coast Guard 39.

Most members of the military come from middle-class backgrounds. These income groups are the most strongly represented by median household income, the CFR reports: $66,598 to $87,850, $53,549 to $66,597 and $41,692 to $53,548. Underrepresented are the $87,851 and over income group and those with incomes up to $41,691.

The numbers of female recruits vary widely by the branch of service. For the Marines, the figure is about 10%. Among the Navy and Air Force, the figure is closer to 25%.

The concentration of recruits also varies by state. The CFR reports:

South Carolina had the highest representation ratio, at 1.5, meaning it contributed 50 percent more than its share of the country’s eighteen- to twenty-four-year-old population. Florida, Hawaii, Georgia, and Alabama round out the top five.

The total count by the branch of the service based on active duty personnel, according to Governing.com, is 472,000 for the Army, 319,000 for the Navy, 319,000 for the Air Force, 184,000 for the Marine Corps and 41,000 for the Coast Guard.

Click here to read about the largest military base around the world.