The U.S. Army is the biggest branch of America’s armed forces, with 465,239 active-duty personnel as of June 30, a decline from 486,141 in the same period a year ago. The U.S. armed forces strength, as measured by total personnel, is 1,357,753, a decrease from 1,393,912 a year ago. (Other militaries are larger. This is the country with the largest military.)
Every state has active-duty Army personnel, but some states are home to considerably more Army soldiers than others, based on the presence of military installations.
To determine the states that have the most active-duty Army personnel, 24/7 Wall St. used military personnel data from the Department of Defense, current as of March 2022 and adjusted per 100,000 total state population. We based our ranking on active duty personnel only — men and women serving in the Army. Data on the largest base by personnel in each state came from the “2020 Demographics Report,” compiled by Defense Department contractor Military OneSource. Total base personnel counts only include service men and women.
In terms of raw numbers, Southern states have the highest totals of active-duty Army personnel. Three Southern states have more than 40,000 Army soldiers each, with Texas having the most by far at 71,876. Southern states also occupy four of the top 10 spots for active-duty Army personnel per 100,000 people.
Ten states have fewer than 100 active-duty Army personnel — four of them are among the least populous U.S. states. Wyoming, the least populous state, has just 25 active-duty Army personnel, and Vermont, the second-least populous, has 39. Neither state has an Army base within its boundaries. In fact, 21 states do not host an Army base. (Though not necessarily Army, these are the countries where the U.S. has the biggest military presence.)
The U.S. Army is falling short of its recruitment goals. Army vice chief of staff, Gen. Joseph M. Martin, told a House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness hearing in July that the regular Army may fall about 19,000 soldiers short of its staffing goal in fiscal 2022.
The Army is facing problems not only in recruiting soldiers but also retaining them. The reasons include a challenging post-pandemic recruiting environment, a lack of recruits because of factors such as obesity and lack of education, and declining morale among those in the service who cite frequent reassignments as causing a strain on family life.
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