Special Report

States That Sent the Most Troops to Fight in World War II

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Before formally entering World War II in December 1941, the United States established itself as “the arsenal of democracy,” supplying overseas allies with weapons to confront the fascist threat posed by the Axis powers. By war’s end, the U.S. not only produced nearly two-thirds of Allied military equipment, but it also mobilized over 16.3 million troops – more than any other Allied country except the Soviet Union.

In 1945, the final year of WWII, an estimated 12.2 million Americans served in the military, up from only about 334,500 in 1939, the year the war began with Germany’s invasion of Poland. The mass military mobilization – including both draftees and volunteers – was the largest in U.S. history and drew thousands of men and women from all 48 states, as well as Alaska and Hawaii, neither of which had been granted statehood at the time of the war.

Using data from The National Archives, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states where the most people enlisted in World War II. States are ranked by the number of people who were residing there at the time they enlisted in the U.S. Army or U.S. Army Air Forces during the war.

According to The National Archives records, anywhere from about 1,800 to over 930,000 Americans enlisted in the Army from each of the now 50 states during WWII. However, official records acknowledge that about 13% of all Army enlistees at the time are not reflected in these numbers. Adjusting for the undercount, approximate enlistment figures from each state fall between 2,000 and 1.1 million residents. (Here is a look at the nations that mobilized the most troops during WWII.)

Perhaps not surprisingly, the states with the largest populations in 1940 were also the states that sent the most troops to fight in the war. New York, for example, was the most populous state in the country in 1940, with nearly 13.5 million residents. New York was also the only state where over 1 million residents are estimated to have enlisted during the war.

However, accounting for variation in population base, New York’s contribution in manpower to the war effort is more modest. An estimated 7.8% of all New Yorkers enlisted during the war, only the 12th largest share of the 50 states. Depending on the state, the share of residents who enlisted in the Army in the Second World War ranges from less than 3% to over 10%. (Here is a look at the states with the most living WWII veterans.)

Click here to see states that sent the most troops to fight in World War II.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

50. Alaska
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 2,068 (2.9% of state’s 1940 pop. – the lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 26 enlistees – the fewest (1.3% of state’s enlistees – the lowest)
> Total casualties: 91 – the fewest (4.4% of state’s enlistees – 17th highest)
> Population in 1940: 72,524 – the smallest

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49. Wyoming
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 11,342 (4.5% of state’s 1940 pop. – 12th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 424 enlistees – 4th fewest (3.7% of state’s enlistees – 8th highest)
> Total casualties: 652 – 4th fewest (5.7% of state’s enlistees – 8th highest)
> Population in 1940: 250,742 – 3rd smallest

48. Nevada
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 11,784 (10.7% of state’s 1940 pop. – the highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 199 enlistees – 2nd fewest (1.7% of state’s enlistees – 7th lowest)
> Total casualties: 349 – 2nd fewest (3.0% of state’s enlistees – 14th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 110,247 – 2nd smallest

47. Hawaii
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 15,965 (3.8% of state’s 1940 pop. – 7th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 558 enlistees – 5th fewest (3.5% of state’s enlistees – 9th highest)
> Total casualties: 689 – 5th fewest (4.3% of state’s enlistees – 18th highest)
> Population in 1940: 422,770 – 6th smallest

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46. Delaware
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 20,154 (7.6% of state’s 1940 pop. – 17th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 388 enlistees – 3rd fewest (1.9% of state’s enlistees – 15th lowest)
> Total casualties: 579 – 3rd fewest (2.9% of state’s enlistees – 10th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 266,505 – 4th smallest

45. South Dakota
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 20,598 (3.2% of state’s 1940 pop. – 3rd lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 958 enlistees – 11th fewest (4.7% of state’s enlistees – 5th highest)
> Total casualties: 1,426 – 9th fewest (6.9% of state’s enlistees – 5th highest)
> Population in 1940: 642,961 – 14th smallest

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44. North Dakota
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 20,635 (3.2% of state’s 1940 pop. – 4th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 1,166 enlistees – 15th fewest (5.7% of state’s enlistees – the highest)
> Total casualties: 1,626 – 13th fewest (7.9% of state’s enlistees – the highest)
> Population in 1940: 641,935 – 13th smallest

43. Vermont
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 27,144 (7.6% of state’s 1940 pop. – 18th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 594 enlistees – 6th fewest (2.2% of state’s enlistees – 23rd lowest)
> Total casualties: 874 – 6th fewest (3.2% of state’s enlistees – 20th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 359,231 – 5th smallest

42. Arizona
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 34,399 (6.9% of state’s 1940 pop. – 25th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 1,031 enlistees – 12th fewest (3.0% of state’s enlistees – 16th highest)
> Total casualties: 1,613 – 12th fewest (4.7% of state’s enlistees – 12th highest)
> Population in 1940: 499,261 – 8th smallest

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41. New Mexico
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 39,005 (7.3% of state’s 1940 pop. – 21st highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 1,143 enlistees – 14th fewest (2.9% of state’s enlistees – 17th highest)
> Total casualties: 2,032 – 15th fewest (5.2% of state’s enlistees – 10th highest)
> Population in 1940: 531,818 – 10th smallest

40. Nebraska
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 40,553 (3.1% of state’s 1940 pop. – 2nd lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 1,957 enlistees – 19th fewest (4.8% of state’s enlistees – 3rd highest)
> Total casualties: 2,976 – 19th fewest (7.3% of state’s enlistees – 2nd highest)
> Population in 1940: 1,315,834 – 19th smallest

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39. Idaho
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 41,152 (7.8% of state’s 1940 pop. – 10th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 911 enlistees – 9th fewest (2.2% of state’s enlistees – 25th highest)
> Total casualties: 1,419 – 8th fewest (3.4% of state’s enlistees – 23rd lowest)
> Population in 1940: 524,873 – 9th smallest

38. New Hampshire
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 41,752 (8.5% of state’s 1940 pop. – 5th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 804 enlistees – 7th fewest (1.9% of state’s enlistees – 16th lowest)
> Total casualties: 1,203 – 7th fewest (2.9% of state’s enlistees – 11th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 491,524 – 7th smallest

37. Montana
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 43,844 (7.8% of state’s 1940 pop. – 11th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 924 enlistees – 10th fewest (2.1% of state’s enlistees – 21st lowest)
> Total casualties: 1,553 – 11th fewest (3.5% of state’s enlistees – 25th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 559,456 – 12th smallest

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36. Utah
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 46,205 (8.4% of state’s 1940 pop. – 6th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 905 enlistees – 8th fewest (2.0% of state’s enlistees – 17th lowest)
> Total casualties: 1,450 – 10th fewest (3.1% of state’s enlistees – 17th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 550,310 – 11th smallest

35. Colorado
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 51,509 (4.6% of state’s 1940 pop. – 14th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 1,720 enlistees – 18th fewest (3.3% of state’s enlistees – 11th highest)
> Total casualties: 2,697 – 17th fewest (5.2% of state’s enlistees – 9th highest)
> Population in 1940: 1,123,296 – 18th smallest

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34. Rhode Island
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 64,256 (9.0% of state’s 1940 pop. – 3rd highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 1,125 enlistees – 13th fewest (1.8% of state’s enlistees – 9th lowest)
> Total casualties: 1,669 – 14th fewest (2.6% of state’s enlistees – 5th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 713,346 – 15th smallest

33. Kansas
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 70,897 (3.9% of state’s 1940 pop. – 9th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 2,975 enlistees – 23rd most (4.2% of state’s enlistees – 6th highest)
> Total casualties: 4,526 – 23rd highest (6.4% of state’s enlistees – 6th highest)
> Population in 1940: 1,801,028 – 22nd smallest

32. Maine
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 72,361 (8.5% of state’s 1940 pop. – 4th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 1,470 enlistees – 16th fewest (2.0% of state’s enlistees – 20th lowest)
> Total casualties: 2,156 – 16th fewest (3.0% of state’s enlistees – 16th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 847,226 – 16th smallest

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31. Arkansas
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 83,379 (4.3% of state’s 1940 pop. – 10th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 2,502 enlistees – 25th fewest (3.0% of state’s enlistees – 15th highest)
> Total casualties: 3,814 – 23rd fewest (4.6% of state’s enlistees – 15th highest)
> Population in 1940: 1,949,387 – 24th largest

30. Oregon
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 84,565 (7.8% of state’s 1940 pop. – 14th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 1,713 enlistees – 17th fewest (2.0% of state’s enlistees – 19th lowest)
> Total casualties: 2,835 – 18th fewest (3.4% of state’s enlistees – 21st lowest)
> Population in 1940: 1,089,684 – 17th smallest

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29. Minnesota
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 92,990 (3.3% of state’s 1940 pop. – 5th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 4,399 enlistees – 16th most (4.7% of state’s enlistees – 4th highest)
> Total casualties: 6,462 – 16th highest (6.9% of state’s enlistees – 4th highest)
> Population in 1940: 2,792,300 – 18th largest

28. Maryland
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 95,469 (5.2% of state’s 1940 pop. – 16th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 2,951 enlistees – 25th most (3.1% of state’s enlistees – 13th highest)
> Total casualties: 4,375 – 24th highest (4.6% of state’s enlistees – 14th highest)
> Population in 1940: 1,821,244 – 23rd smallest

27. Louisiana
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 107,099 (4.5% of state’s 1940 pop. – 13th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 2,348 enlistees – 23rd fewest (2.2% of state’s enlistees – 24th lowest)
> Total casualties: 3,964 – 25th fewest (3.7% of state’s enlistees – 23rd highest)
> Population in 1940: 2,363,516 – 21st largest

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26. Iowa
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 109,591 (4.3% of state’s 1940 pop. – 11th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 3,763 enlistees – 18th most (3.4% of state’s enlistees – 10th highest)
> Total casualties: 5,633 – 19th highest (5.1% of state’s enlistees – 11th highest)
> Population in 1940: 2,538,268 – 20th largest

25. Washington
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 124,995 (7.2% of state’s 1940 pop. – 23rd highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 2,376 enlistees – 24th fewest (1.9% of state’s enlistees – 13th lowest)
> Total casualties: 3,941 – 24th fewest (3.2% of state’s enlistees – 18th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 1,736,191 – 21st smallest

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24. West Virginia
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 125,551 (6.6% of state’s 1940 pop. – 22nd lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 3,482 enlistees – 20th most (2.8% of state’s enlistees – 18th highest)
> Total casualties: 4,865 – 22nd highest (3.9% of state’s enlistees – 22nd highest)
> Population in 1940: 1,901,974 – 25th largest

23. South Carolina
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 129,788 (6.8% of state’s 1940 pop. – 24th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 2,190 enlistees – 22nd fewest (1.7% of state’s enlistees – 6th lowest)
> Total casualties: 3,423 – 20th fewest (2.6% of state’s enlistees – 6th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 1,899,804 – 25th smallest

22. Florida
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 144,839 (7.6% of state’s 1940 pop. – 16th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 1,971 enlistees – 20th fewest (1.4% of state’s enlistees – 3rd lowest)
> Total casualties: 3,540 – 21st fewest (2.4% of state’s enlistees – 3rd lowest)
> Population in 1940: 1,897,414 – 24th smallest

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21. Wisconsin
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 152,498 (4.9% of state’s 1940 pop. – 15th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 4,672 enlistees – 14th most (3.1% of state’s enlistees – 14th highest)
> Total casualties: 7,038 – 13th highest (4.6% of state’s enlistees – 13th highest)
> Population in 1940: 3,137,587 – 13th largest

20. Virginia
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 153,089 (5.7% of state’s 1940 pop. – 18th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 3,924 enlistees – 17th most (2.6% of state’s enlistees – 21st highest)
> Total casualties: 6,007 – 17th highest (3.9% of state’s enlistees – 19th highest)
> Population in 1940: 2,677,773 – 19th largest

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19. Oklahoma
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 154,411 (6.6% of state’s 1940 pop. – 23rd lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 3,516 enlistees – 19th most (2.3% of state’s enlistees – 24th highest)
> Total casualties: 5,474 – 20th highest (3.5% of state’s enlistees – 25th highest)
> Population in 1940: 2,336,434 – 22nd largest

18. Connecticut
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 163,462 (9.6% of state’s 1940 pop. – 2nd highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 2,969 enlistees – 24th most (1.8% of state’s enlistees – 11th lowest)
> Total casualties: 4,347 – 25th highest (2.7% of state’s enlistees – 7th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 1,709,242 – 20th smallest

17. Mississippi
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 168,744 (7.7% of state’s 1940 pop. – 15th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 2,146 enlistees – 21st fewest (1.3% of state’s enlistees – 2nd lowest)
> Total casualties: 3,555 – 22nd fewest (2.1% of state’s enlistees – the lowest)
> Population in 1940: 2,183,796 – 23rd largest

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16. Kentucky
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 174,612 (6.1% of state’s 1940 pop. – 20th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 4,747 enlistees – 12th most (2.7% of state’s enlistees – 19th highest)
> Total casualties: 6,802 – 14th highest (3.9% of state’s enlistees – 20th highest)
> Population in 1940: 2,845,627 – 16th largest

15. Michigan
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 180,139 (3.4% of state’s 1940 pop. – 6th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 8,930 enlistees – 7th most (5.0% of state’s enlistees – 2nd highest)
> Total casualties: 12,885 – 7th highest (7.2% of state’s enlistees – 3rd highest)
> Population in 1940: 5,256,106 – 7th largest

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14. Missouri
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 206,252 (5.4% of state’s 1940 pop. – 17th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 5,321 enlistees – 11th most (2.6% of state’s enlistees – 20th highest)
> Total casualties: 8,003 – 11th highest (3.9% of state’s enlistees – 21st highest)
> Population in 1940: 3,784,664 – 10th largest

13. Alabama
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 209,261 (7.4% of state’s 1940 pop. – 19th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 3,133 enlistees – 22nd most (1.5% of state’s enlistees – 4th lowest)
> Total casualties: 5,114 – 21st highest (2.4% of state’s enlistees – 2nd lowest)
> Population in 1940: 2,832,961 – 17th largest

12. Indiana
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 222,436 (6.5% of state’s 1940 pop. – 21st lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 5,516 enlistees – 10th most (2.5% of state’s enlistees – 22nd highest)
> Total casualties: 8,131 – 10th highest (3.7% of state’s enlistees – 24th highest)
> Population in 1940: 3,427,796 – 12th largest

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11. Georgia
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 229,174 (7.3% of state’s 1940 pop. – 20th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 3,467 enlistees – 21st most (1.5% of state’s enlistees – 5th lowest)
> Total casualties: 5,701 – 18th highest (2.5% of state’s enlistees – 4th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 3,123,723 – 14th largest

10. Tennessee
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 238,039 (8.2% of state’s 1940 pop. – 8th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 4,518 enlistees – 15th most (1.9% of state’s enlistees – 12th lowest)
> Total casualties: 6,528 – 15th highest (2.7% of state’s enlistees – 9th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 2,915,841 – 15th largest

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9. North Carolina
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 261,613 (7.3% of state’s 1940 pop. – 22nd highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 4,680 enlistees – 13th most (1.8% of state’s enlistees – 10th lowest)
> Total casualties: 7,109 – 12th highest (2.7% of state’s enlistees – 8th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 3,571,623 – 11th largest

8. Illinois
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 304,303 (3.9% of state’s 1940 pop. – 8th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 12,489 enlistees – 3rd most (4.1% of state’s enlistees – 7th highest)
> Total casualties: 18,601 – 3rd highest (6.1% of state’s enlistees – 7th highest)
> Population in 1940: 7,897,241 – 3rd largest

7. New Jersey
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 324,956 (7.8% of state’s 1940 pop. – 12th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 7,132 enlistees – 8th most (2.2% of state’s enlistees – 25th lowest)
> Total casualties: 10,372 – 8th highest (3.2% of state’s enlistees – 19th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 4,160,165 – 9th largest

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6. Massachusetts
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 342,401 (7.9% of state’s 1940 pop. – 9th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 6,572 enlistees – 9th most (1.9% of state’s enlistees – 14th lowest)
> Total casualties: 10,033 – 9th highest (2.9% of state’s enlistees – 12th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 4,316,721 – 8th largest

5. Texas
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 452,159 (7.0% of state’s 1940 pop. – 25th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 9,569 enlistees – 6th most (2.1% of state’s enlistees – 22nd lowest)
> Total casualties: 15,764 – 6th highest (3.5% of state’s enlistees – 24th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 6,414,824 – 6th largest

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4. Ohio
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 492,735 (7.1% of state’s 1940 pop. – 24th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 11,372 enlistees – 4th most (2.3% of state’s enlistees – 23rd highest)
> Total casualties: 16,828 – 5th highest (3.4% of state’s enlistees – 22nd lowest)
> Population in 1940: 6,907,612 – 4th largest

3. California
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 579,052 (8.4% of state’s 1940 pop. – 7th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 9,965 enlistees – 5th most (1.7% of state’s enlistees – 8th lowest)
> Total casualties: 17,022 – 4th highest (2.9% of state’s enlistees – 13th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 6,907,387 – 5th largest

2. Pennsylvania
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 583,132 (5.9% of state’s 1940 pop. – 19th lowest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 18,326 enlistees – 2nd most (3.1% of state’s enlistees – 12th highest)
> Total casualties: 26,554 – 2nd highest (4.6% of state’s enlistees – 16th highest)
> Population in 1940: 9,900,180 – 2nd largest

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1. New York
> Est. WWII U.S. Army enlistees: 1,052,268 (7.8% of state’s 1940 pop. – 13th highest)
> Killed in action or died of combat wounds: 20,679 enlistees – the most (2.0% of state’s enlistees – 18th lowest)
> Total casualties: 31,215 – the highest (3.0% of state’s enlistees – 15th lowest)
> Population in 1940: 13,479,142 – the largest

Methodology

To identify the states where the most people enlisted to fight in World War II, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed service record data from The National Archives. States are ranked by the number of people who were residing there at the time they enlisted in the U.S. Army or U.S. Army Air Forces during the war. Residents who enlisted in the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps were not considered.

Though The National Archives have records for more than 8.7 million enlistees during the Second World War, about 13% of records could not be scanned and are missing from the database. To account for this shortfall, we added 13% to the number of each state’s number of enlistees to calculate our final estimates.

Data on the number of those killed or morally wounded in battle from each state is from July 2020 report American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics from the Congressional Research Service. Total casualty counts include those who died from non-combat related injuries and other causes, as well as those missing in action, in addition to those killed in combat. No civilians are included in casualty totals.

As a population base, we used state-level data from the U.S. Census Bureau for 1940, the year before the U.S. entered the war. Conscientious objectors and those who may have lived in a foreign country were not included unless they lived in Alaska or Hawaii, which were not yet states.

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