Services

This Is The State Where The Most People Serve In The Military

According to the Council On Foreign Relations, the U.S. military has 1.3 million active-duty personnel.  That is down from 1.9 million in 1973. Of the current figure, 35% are in the Army, 24% in the Navy, and 24% in the Air Force.

India’s military is about the same size as America’s. Russia’s is larger at 1.5 million. China has the largest military at 2.8 million.

The number of military personnel varies widely by state. Much of this is due to the fact that huge military bases may house tens of thousands of people.

To determine the state that has the most active-duty military personnel, 24/7 Wall St. used military personnel data from the Department of Defense, current as of June 2021 and adjusted per 100,000 total state population. We based our ranking on active-duty personnel only — men and women serving in either the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard on a full-time basis.

By our methodology, The number of active-duty service members is very different from state to state. In some, there are fewer than 10 service members per 100,000 residents. In others, there are over 1,000 per 100,000.

These same data show that states with high concentrations of military members tend to have a handful of very large bases with tens of thousands of service members. These troops, along with their spouses, children, and other dependent relatives, make up a large share of the populations in these areas and often serve the backbone of local economies.

The state with the most people serving in the military is Hawaii. Here are the details:

> Active-duty personnel: 3,002.2 per 100,000 people (total: 42,508)
> Largest base: Schofield Barracks (15,057 active duty personnel)
> Per capita defense spending: $5,280 (3rd highest)

Methodology: To determine the state that has the most active-duty military personnel, 24/7 Wall St. used military personnel data from the Department of Defense, current as of June 2021 and adjusted per 100,000 total state population. We based our decision on active-duty personnel only — men and women serving in either the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard on a full-time basis.

Data on the largest base by personnel in each state came from the “2019 Demographics Report,” compiled by Defense Department contractor Military OneSource. Total base personnel counts only include servicemen and servicewomen.

Per capita Department of Defense spending figures by state came from the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation and are for fiscal 2019, the most recent available year.

Total state population is one-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.

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