total military (Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines) recruits per 1,000 youths in fiscal year 2005, put Utah near the bottom of all states, with 2.5 per 1,000 youths ages 15-24. The top two states were Montana and Texas, at 5.7 and 5.2 per 1,000, with the national average being 3.8 per 1,000.
One reason for Utah's low ranking may be linked to the large number of young men in Utah who serve two-year missions for The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to both the NPP and an Army recruiter in West Valley City.
I don't see why that should matter. Maybe young men (and women) will be off a mission for up to two years, but that doesn't mean they can't join up once they get home. Are they saying that LDS youth get all their world traveling and being away from home and family out of their system by going on a mission?
This article is heavy on facts, and light on analysis. I think the mission explanation is used almost as an excuse for every atyptical stat on Utah. Then there is this factiod that is left hanging...
The NPP considers low- to middle-income neighborhoods to be those having a median household income between $30,000 and $55,000, a group the NPP says is "over-represented" in active-duty Army recruits. The NPP makes its comparison to recruits coming from "wealthier" areas, where NPP says the median household income is above $55,000. The latter group was already "under-represented" in active-duty Army numbers for new recruits, according to NPP's data from the previous year.
The article doesn't answer the question, nor does the NPP research director, but the answer is prety obvious. Military recruiters target poor, ill-educated neighborhoods, figuring that the military's "we'll pay for college and trips around the world" pitch will play better with people that can afford neither than those who send junior to the Ivy-League and on trips to Europe.
The poor are also those most in need of a good paying job that has low skill-level requirements. And the military offers that as well (obviously, they train people and also hire highly skilled folks as well).
Of course, people making over $55,000 and less than $100,000 are probabbly what you and I would call middle class, not wealthier. And over all, military recruiting has dropped rapidly as the Iraq war as dragged on...none of which should be surprising. It is a lot less fun traveling the world when your people will be trying to kill you along the journey.