Special Report

States With the Most People in the Military

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

There are 1.3 million active duty service men and women enlisted in the U.S. military. The vast majority of them — about 87% — are stationed on bases throughout the United States. While every state is home to at least a few active duty troops, military personnel are concentrated far more heavily in some states than in others.

A large active duty military population is not necessarily indicative of a state’s overall size, nor is it always the result of higher enlistment rates. Rather, the states that are home to the most service men and women have some of the largest and most iconic military bases in the country.

For example, there are 114,000 service men, women, and family members stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina — more than the total number of active duty military personnel in all but three other states.

24/7 Wall St. ranked all 50 states by the number of active duty military personnel stationed there using data from the Department of Defense. More than half of all men and women on active duty in the United States are stationed in just six states.

Click here to see the states with the most active duty military personnel.
Click here to read our detailed findings and methodology.

50. Vermont
> Total active duty: 171
> Total no.of military bases: 13
> Largest base: N/A
> Largest branch: Air Force (60 enlistees)

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49. West Virginia
> Total active duty: 209
> Total no.of military bases: 41
> Largest base: N/A
> Largest branch: Coast Guard (70 enlistees)

48. Iowa
> Total active duty: 247
> Total no.of military bases: 41
> Largest base: N/A
> Largest branch: Army (94 enlistees)

47. Minnesota
> Total active duty: 602
> Total no.of military bases: 32
> Largest base: Fort Snelling (867 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (160 enlistees)

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46. Maine
> Total active duty: 850
> Total no.of military bases: 30
> Largest base: N/A
> Largest branch: Coast Guard (691 enlistees)

45. Wisconsin
> Total active duty: 976
> Total no.of military bases: 51
> Largest base: Fort McCoy (891 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (440 enlistees)

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44. Indiana
> Total active duty: 977
> Total no.of military bases: 51
> Largest base: Fort Benjamin Harrison (1,464 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (539 enlistees)

43. New Hampshire
> Total active duty: 1,342
> Total no.of military bases: 10
> Largest base: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (2,623 personnel)
> Largest branch: Navy (887 enlistees)

42. Oregon
> Total active duty: 1,673
> Total no.of military bases: 28
> Largest base: Portland IAP AGS (376 personnel)
> Largest branch: Coast Guard (1,105 enlistees)

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41. Michigan
> Total active duty: 2,138
> Total no.of military bases: 43
> Largest base: Detroit Arsenal (624 personnel)
> Largest branch: Coast Guard (1,162 enlistees)

40. Tennessee
> Total active duty: 2,194
> Total no.of military bases: 48
> Largest base: Naval Support Activity Mid-South (1,619 personnel)
> Largest branch: Navy (1,373 enlistees)

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39. Pennsylvania
> Total active duty: 2,515
> Total no.of military bases: 126
> Largest base: Carlisle Barracks (1,969 personnel)
> Largest branch: Navy (693 enlistees)

38. Rhode Island
> Total active duty: 2,931
> Total no.of military bases: 27
> Largest base: Naval Station Newport (6,934 personnel)
> Largest branch: Navy (2,229 enlistees)

37. Wyoming
> Total active duty: 3,202
> Total no.of military bases: 94
> Largest base: Francis E Warren Air Force Base (6,433 personnel)
> Largest branch: Air Force (3,157 enlistees)

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36. Montana
> Total active duty: 3,308
> Total no.of military bases: 248
> Largest base: Malmstrom Air Force Base (6,828 personnel)
> Largest branch: Air Force (3,215 enlistees)

35. South Dakota
> Total active duty: 3,423
> Total no.of military bases: 25
> Largest base: Ellsworth Air Force Base (6,920 personnel)
> Largest branch: Air Force (3,337 enlistees)

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34. Idaho
> Total active duty: 3,447
> Total no.of military bases: 62
> Largest base: Mountain Home Air Force Base (7,065 personnel)
> Largest branch: Air Force (3,312 enlistees)

33. Delaware
> Total active duty: 3,529
> Total no.of military bases: 13
> Largest base: Dover Air Force Base (7,578 personnel)
> Largest branch: Air Force (3,383 enlistees)

32. Arkansas
> Total active duty: 3,588
> Total no.of military bases: 26
> Largest base: Little Rock Air Force Base (9,097 personnel)
> Largest branch: Air Force (3,225 enlistees)

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31. Massachusetts
> Total active duty: 3,750
> Total no.of military bases: 62
> Largest base: Hanscom Air Force Base (1,944 personnel)
> Largest branch: Air Force (1,077 enlistees)

30. Utah
> Total active duty: 4,296
> Total no.of military bases: 96
> Largest base: Hill Air Force Base (9,481 personnel)
> Largest branch: Air Force (3,988 enlistees)

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29. Nebraska
> Total active duty: 6,311
> Total no.of military bases: 124
> Largest base: Offutt Air Force Base (14,995 personnel)
> Largest branch: Air Force (5,670 enlistees)

28. Connecticut
> Total active duty: 6,438
> Total no.of military bases: 35
> Largest base: New London Naval Submarine Base (13,889 personnel)
> Largest branch: Navy (5,477 enlistees)

27. Ohio
> Total active duty: 6,829
> Total no.of military bases: 76
> Largest base: Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (14,060 personnel)
> Largest branch: Air Force (5,350 enlistees)

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26. North Dakota
> Total active duty: 7,440
> Total no.of military bases: 187
> Largest base: Minot Air Force Base (11,205 personnel)
> Largest branch: Air Force (7,393 enlistees)

25. New Jersey
> Total active duty: 7,859
> Total no.of military bases: 31
> Largest base: McGuire Air Force Base (9,648 personnel)
> Largest branch: Air Force (4,699 enlistees)

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24. Alabama
> Total active duty: 8,585
> Total no.of military bases: 99
> Largest base: Fort Rucker (9,824 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (4,578 enlistees)

23. Nevada
> Total active duty: 11,169
> Total no.of military bases: 57
> Largest base: Nellis Air Force Base (21,111 personnel)
> Largest branch: Air Force (10,011 enlistees)

22. Mississippi
> Total active duty: 11,832
> Total no.of military bases: 111
> Largest base: Keesler Air Force Base (9,840 personnel)
> Largest branch: Air Force (5,673 enlistees)

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21. New Mexico
> Total active duty: 12,507
> Total no.of military bases: 54
> Largest base: Cannon Air Force Base (9,870 personnel)
> Largest branch: Air Force (11,986 enlistees)

20. Missouri
> Total active duty: 15,661
> Total no.of military bases: 61
> Largest base: Fort Leonard Wood (22,469 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (9,412 enlistees)

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19. Louisiana
> Total active duty: 15,707
> Total no.of military bases: 34
> Largest base: Fort Polk (18,505 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (8,036 enlistees)

18. Arizona
> Total active duty: 19,235
> Total no.of military bases: 48
> Largest base: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (13,011 personnel)
> Largest branch: Air Force (10,100 enlistees)

17. Illinois
> Total active duty: 19,623
> Total no.of military bases: 71
> Largest base: Naval Station Great Lakes (16,300 personnel)
> Largest branch: Navy (13,736 enlistees)

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16. Alaska
> Total active duty: 19,978
> Total no.of military bases: 160
> Largest base: Fort Jonathan Wainwright (16,759 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (10,724 enlistees)

15. Oklahoma
> Total active duty: 20,138
> Total no.of military bases: 55
> Largest base: Fort Sill (25,169 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (11,284 enlistees)

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14. New York
> Total active duty: 21,315
> Total no.of military bases: 104
> Largest base: Fort Drum (34,736 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (17,248 enlistees)

13. Kansas
> Total active duty: 21,597
> Total no.of military bases: 43
> Largest base: Fort Riley (38,868 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (18,141 enlistees)

12. Maryland
> Total active duty: 30,055
> Total no.of military bases: 112
> Largest base: Fort George GN/A Meade (26,590 personnel)
> Largest branch: Navy (10,501 enlistees)

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11. Kentucky
> Total active duty: 33,396
> Total no.of military bases: 29
> Largest base: Fort Campbell (67,507 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (32,895 enlistees)

10. South Carolina
> Total active duty: 34,874
> Total no.of military bases: 69
> Largest base: Fort Jackson (19,410 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (10,341 enlistees)

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9. Colorado
> Total active duty: 36,173
> Total no.of military bases: 85
> Largest base: Fort Carson (59,920 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (25,493 enlistees)

8. Hawaii
> Total active duty: 42,675
> Total no.of military bases: 142
> Largest base: Schofield Barracks (39,985 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (16,498 enlistees)

7. Washington
> Total active duty: 60,972
> Total no.of military bases: 105
> Largest base: Fort Lewis (68,871 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (26,783 enlistees)

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6. Georgia
> Total active duty: 63,024
> Total no.of military bases: 69
> Largest base: Fort Stewart (49,692 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (46,300 enlistees)

5. Florida
> Total active duty: 64,539
> Total no.of military bases: 190
> Largest base: Mayport NAVSTA (22,045 personnel)
> Largest branch: Navy (26,610 enlistees)

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4. North Carolina
> Total active duty: 100,030
> Total no.of military bases: 97
> Largest base: Fort Bragg (113,626 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (44,829 enlistees)

3. Texas
> Total active duty: 118,710
> Total no.of military bases: 172
> Largest base: Fort Hood (74,724 personnel)
> Largest branch: Army (71,244 enlistees)

2. Virginia
> Total active duty: 124,510
> Total no.of military bases: 193
> Largest base: Norfolk Naval Base (144,727 personnel)
> Largest branch: Navy (75,721 enlistees)

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1. California
> Total active duty: 160,788
> Total no.of military bases: 369
> Largest base: Camp Pendleton (73,048 personnel)
> Largest branch: Navy (71,322 enlistees)

Detailed Findings

Of the five branches of the armed services, the Army is the largest, accounting for over a third of all active duty personnel. The Navy is the second largest branch by total personnel, followed by the Air Force, the Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard.

The share of military personnel within each branch varies by state, depending on the types of bases in the area. For example, Virginia is home of the Norfolk Naval Base and its population of 145,000 active duty personnel and dependents. As a result, the Navy accounts for over 60% of all active duty service members in the state.

In several states with major air bases like the Dakotas and Wyoming, virtually all active duty service men and women are in the U.S. Air Force.

The Coast Guard is the largest service branch in just four states, while there are no states where active duty Marines constitute the largest share of service personnel.

Methodology

To determine the states that have the most active duty military personnel, 24/7 Wall St. used data from the Department of Defense, current as of June 30, 2018. We based our ranking on active duty personnel only — men and women serving in the military on a full-time basis. Data on military bases came from the “2016 Demographics Report,” compiled by Defense Department contractor Military OneSource. Total base personnel counts include service men and women and their dependents. For this reason, the number of people on a base is often greater than the total number of active duty service men and women in its respective state.

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