Special Report

States Where the Most Americans Serve in the Military

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The United States has one of the largest militaries in the world, with more than 1.3 million active-duty personnel. This includes those serving in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Space Force, and Coast Guard. (Read about the countries with the largest militaries.)

While about 160,000 of these active-duty service members are deployed abroad, the majority are stationed at one of over 450 military bases in the U.S. Every state has at least one military base, with California having the most and Wyoming the fewest. Virginia is home to the largest base in the country — the Norfolk Naval Base — where over 47,000 active-duty personnel are stationed.

To determine the states that have the most active-duty military personnel, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed unclassified military personnel data from the Department of Defense Personnel, Workforce Reports & Publications, using data from Sept. 30, 2022 — the most recent fully updated data. We considered active-duty personnel in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard serving in each state and the District of Columbia — adjusted per 100,000 state population. 

Per capita defense spending figures by state came from the DOD’s report Defense Spending by State Fiscal Year 2021, the most recent available year. Data on the number of military sites in each state came from the U.S. Department of Transportation/Bureau of Transportation Statistics’s National Transportation Atlas Database and are for May 2019. State populations came from the Census Bureau’s Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for July 1, 2022. Notable bases came from 24/7 Wall St.’s previous piece about the largest military base in each state.

Click here to see the states where the most Americans serve in the military.

51. Iowa
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 8 per 100,000 (total: 246)
> No. of military sites: 5 — 10th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: N/A
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $805 — 12th lowest

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50. West Virginia
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 10 per 100,000 (total: 177)
> No. of military sites: 8 — 19th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: N/A
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $496 — 5th lowest

49. Minnesota
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 10 per 100,000 (total: 580)
> No. of military sites: 10 — 25th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Fort Snelling
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $387 — 3rd lowest

48. Indiana
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 15 per 100,000 (total: 1,043)
> No. of military sites: 11 — 24th most (tied)
> Notable base: DFAS Indianapolis Center
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,059 — 21st lowest

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47. Wisconsin
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 17 per 100,000 (total: 993)
> No. of military sites: 7 — 17th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Fort McCoy
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $857 — 17th lowest

46. Michigan
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 19 per 100,000 (total: 1,900)
> No. of military sites: 9 — 20th fewest
> Notable base: Detroit Arsenal
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $649 — 8th lowest

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45. Pennsylvania
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 19 per 100,000 (total: 2,468)
> No. of military sites: 16 — 12th most (tied)
> Notable base: Carlisle Barracks
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,272 — 26th highest

44. Vermont
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 22 per 100,000 (total: 141)
> No. of military sites: 5 — 10th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Burlington IAP-AGS
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $845 — 16th lowest

43. Tennessee
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 34 per 100,000 (total: 2,378)
> No. of military sites: 15 — 14th most (tied)
> Notable base: Naval Support Activity Mid-South
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $462 — 4th lowest

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42. Oregon
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 36 per 100,000 (total: 1,514)
> No. of military sites: 11 — 24th most (tied)
> Notable base: N/A
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $324 — the lowest

41. Massachusetts
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 48 per 100,000 (total: 3,350)
> No. of military sites: 10 — 25th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Hanscom AFB
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $3,057 — 9th highest

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40. Maine
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 58 per 100,000 (total: 797)
> No. of military sites: 7 — 17th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Brunswick NAS
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $2,348 — 11th highest

39. Ohio
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 58 per 100,000 (total: 6,846)
> No. of military sites: 15 — 14th most (tied)
> Notable base: Wright-Patterson AFB
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $844 — 15th lowest

38. New Hampshire
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 80 per 100,000 (total: 1,115)
> No. of military sites: 4 — 3rd fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,671 — 17th highest

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37. New Jersey
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 86 per 100,000 (total: 7,954)
> No. of military sites: 10 — 25th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: McGuire AFB
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,002 — 20th lowest

36. New York
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 98 per 100,000 (total: 19,364)
> No. of military sites: 17 — 11th most
> Notable base: Fort Drum
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,557 — 20th highest

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35. Arkansas
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 123 per 100,000 (total: 3,740)
> No. of military sites: 5 — 10th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Little Rock AFB
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $639 — 7th lowest

34. Utah
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 133 per 100,000 (total: 4,503)
> No. of military sites: 11 — 24th most (tied)
> Notable base: Hill AFB
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,877 — 16th highest

33. Alabama
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 162 per 100,000 (total: 8,244)
> No. of military sites: 32 — 6th most
> Notable base: Fort Rucker
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $3,123 — 7th highest

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32. Connecticut
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 172 per 100,000 (total: 6,224)
> No. of military sites: 5 — 10th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: New London NAVSUBASE
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $5,347 — 4th highest

31. Illinois
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 180 per 100,000 (total: 22,679)
> No. of military sites: 14 — 18th most (tied)
> Notable base: Naval Station Great Lakes
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $749 — 10th lowest

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30. Idaho
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 181 per 100,000 (total: 3,511)
> No. of military sites: 7 — 17th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Mountain Home AFB
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $356 — 2nd lowest

29. Missouri
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 233 per 100,000 (total: 14,409)
> No. of military sites: 13 — 21st most (tied)
> Notable base: Fort Leonard Wood
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,979 — 14th highest

28. Arizona
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 238 per 100,000 (total: 17,482)
> No. of military sites: 19 — 10th most
> Notable base: Davis-Monthan AFB
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $2,013 — 13th highest

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27. Montana
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 290 per 100,000 (total: 3,253)
> No. of military sites: 5 — 10th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Malmstrom AFB
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $586 — 6th lowest

26. Florida
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 301 per 100,000 (total: 66,971)
> No. of military sites: 41 — 4th most
> Notable base: Mayport NAVSTA
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,384 — 24th highest

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25. Louisiana
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 325 per 100,000 (total: 14,910)
> No. of military sites: 14 — 18th most (tied)
> Notable base: Fort Polk
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $768 — 11th lowest

24. Nebraska
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 330 per 100,000 (total: 6,499)
> No. of military sites: 8 — 19th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Offutt AFB
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $844 — 15th lowest

23. Delaware
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 343 per 100,000 (total: 3,490)
> No. of military sites: 4 — 3rd fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Dover AFB
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $947 — 18th lowest

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22. Rhode Island
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 347 per 100,000 (total: 3,793)
> No. of military sites: 5 — 10th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Naval Station Newport
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,533 — 22nd highest

21. South Dakota
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 372 per 100,000 (total: 3,388)
> No. of military sites: 7 — 17th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Ellsworth AFB
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $718 — 9th lowest

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20. Mississippi
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 376 per 100,000 (total: 11,067)
> No. of military sites: 12 — 23rd most
> Notable base: Keesler AFB
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,911 — 15th highest

19. Texas
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 380 per 100,000 (total: 114,245)
> No. of military sites: 42 — 2nd most (tied)
> Notable base: Fort Hood
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,601 — 18th highest

18. Nevada
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 386 per 100,000 (total: 12,275)
> No. of military sites: 13 — 21st most (tied)
> Notable base: Nellis AFB
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $974 — 19th lowest

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17. California
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 419 per 100,000 (total: 163,393)
> No. of military sites: 73 — the most
> Notable base: Camp Pendleton
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,463 — 23rd highest

16. Maryland
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 480 per 100,000 (total: 29,599)
> No. of military sites: 25 — 7th most
> Notable base: Fort George G. Meade
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $4,258 — 6th highest

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15. Oklahoma
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 525 per 100,000 (total: 21,114)
> No. of military sites: 15 — 14th most (tied)
> Notable base: Fort Sill
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,582 — 19th highest

14. Wyoming
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 541 per 100,000 (total: 3,148)
> No. of military sites: 3 — the fewest
> Notable base: Francis E Warren AFB
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $822 — 13th lowest

13. Georgia
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 585 per 100,000 (total: 63,873)
> No. of military sites: 20 — 8th most (tied)
> Notable base: Fort Benning
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,378 — 25th highest

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12. New Mexico
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 636 per 100,000 (total: 13,437)
> No. of military sites: 10 — 25th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Cannon AFB
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,547 — 21st highest

11. Colorado
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 651 per 100,000 (total: 37,990)
> No. of military sites: 10 — 25th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Fort Carson
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $2,138 — 12th highest

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10. Kansas
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 700 per 100,000 (total: 20,566)
> No. of military sites: 7 — 17th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Fort Riley
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,263 — 25th lowest

9. South Carolina
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 725 per 100,000 (total: 38,322)
> No. of military sites: 14 — 18th most (tied)
> Notable base: Fort Jackson
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,179 — 24th lowest

8. Kentucky
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 767 per 100,000 (total: 34,608)
> No. of military sites: 6 — 11th fewest
> Notable base: Fort Campbell
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $3,068 — 8th highest

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7. Washington
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 798 per 100,000 (total: 62,130)
> No. of military sites: 20 — 8th most (tied)
> Notable base: Fort Lewis
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $2,470 — 10th highest

6. North Carolina
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 897 per 100,000 (total: 95,999)
> No. of military sites: 16 — 12th most (tied)
> Notable base: Fort Bragg
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,113 — 22nd lowest

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5. North Dakota
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 933 per 100,000 (total: 7,272)
> No. of military sites: 7 — 17th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: Minot AFB
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $1,165 — 23rd lowest

4. Virginia
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 1,491 per 100,000 (total: 129,492)
> No. of military sites: 42 — 2nd most (tied)
> Notable base: Norfolk Naval Base
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $7,259 — 2nd highest

3. District Of Columbia
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 1,641 per 100,000 (total: 11,024)
> No. of military sites: 5 — 10th fewest (tied)
> Notable base: N/A
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $14,614 — the highest

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2. Alaska
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 2,754 per 100,000 (total: 20,206)
> No. of military sites: 15 — 14th most (tied)
> Notable base: Fort Jonathan Wainwright
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $4,916 — 5th highest

1. Hawaii
> Active-duty personnel (as of Sept. 30, 2022): 2,811 per 100,000 (total: 40,485)
> No. of military sites: 39 — 5th most
> Notable base: Schofield Barracks
> Per capita defense spending, 2021: $5,465 — 3rd highest

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