The makeup of the U.S. armed forces has changed considerably since the days of the draft. The all-volunteer military is a self-selected group that must must pass higher entrance requirements than ever before. Various reports and polls give us a snapshot of what the overall active-duty population is like. For example, they are more educated than ever.
Today's military personnel are more likely than comparable age groups in the civilian population to have graduated from high school (after all, with rare exceptions, military recruits must have high school degrees or GEDs). Military officers, meanwhile, are substantially better educated than civilians: Only 30 percent of the overall population over age 25 have bachelor's degrees, compared to 82.5 percent of officers.
And they tend to come from higher-income backgrounds.
Today's military is distinctly middle class. In part, this is because military requirements render many of the nation's poorest young people ineligible: The poorest Americans are the least likely to finish high school or gain a GED, for instance, and poverty also correlates with ill health, obesity, and the likelihood of serious run-ins with the criminal justice system, all of which are disqualifying factors for the military.
Active-duty personnel are also older than they used to be, and more likely to be married than the civil population. They hold more liberal political views than you might imagine. And best of all, while some veterans have trouble reintegrating into civilian life, the vast majority of post-9/11 veterans do well both socially and economically. The article at Foreign Policy also explores the reasons people volunteer for the military, the geographic distribution of recruits, and other demographics. Link -via Digg