Three Facts About the U.S. Military

Fact No. 1: As the country has become more racially and ethnically diverse, so has the U.S. military. 

According to Pew Research, “Racial and ethnic minority groups made up 40% of Defense Department active-duty military in 2015, up from 25% in 1990. (In 2015, 44% of all Americans ages 18 to 44 were racial or ethnic minorities.)”

Fact No. 2: The Army remains the largest branch of the U.S. military.

Pew Research notes that, in 2015, “36% of all active-duty military personnel were serving in the Army. The Navy and Air Force were comparable in size, each accounting for roughly a quarter of active-duty personnel. The Marine Corps made up 14% of the active-duty military, while the Coast Guard made up 3%.”

Fact No. 3: The active-duty force remains largely male-dominated, but women have made inroads in recent decades.

Overall, notes Pew Research, “15% of DOD active-duty military personnel are women, up from 11% in 1990. In 2015, 17% of active-duty officers were female – up from their share of 12% in 1990. And 15% of enlisted personnel were female in 2015, up from 11% in 1990. The share of women in the ranks varies significantly by service branch. Women comprise nearly one-in-five active-duty personnel in the Air Force (19%) but only 8% of all Marines. Women make up 18% of the Navy and 14% of the Army.

For more facts about the U.S. military visit the Pew Research Center.

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