*Direct correspondence to Meredith Kleykamp, Office of Population Research, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544 〈email@example.com〉. This research was supported by the Ford Foundation and Hewlett Foundation. Institutional support was provided from the Office of Population Research. Special thanks go to Marta Tienda, Bruce Western, Major John Basso, U.S. Army, Jake Rosenfeld, Michelle Bellessa-Frost, and Sunny Niu for helpful comments at various stages in this research. A version of this article was presented at the American Sociological Association meetings in San Francisco, California in 2004.
College, Jobs, or the Military? Enlistment During a Time of War*
Version of Record online: 9 MAY 2006
Social Science Quarterly
Volume 87, Issue 2, pages 272–290, June 2006
How to Cite
Kleykamp, M. A. (2006), College, Jobs, or the Military? Enlistment During a Time of War. Social Science Quarterly, 87: 272–290. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2006.00380.x
- Issue online: 9 MAY 2006
- Version of Record online: 9 MAY 2006
Objective. This article questions what factors are associated with joining the military after high school rather than attending college, joining the civilian labor force, or doing some other activity. Three areas of influence on military enlistment are highlighted: educational goals, the institutional presence of the military in communities, and race and socioeconomic status.
Method. The analysis uses data from a recent cohort of high school graduates from the State of Texas in 2002, when the United States was at war, and employs multinomial logistic regression to model the correlates of post-high-school choice of activity in this cohort.
Results. Results confirm the hypothesis that a higher military institutional presence increases the odds of enlisting in the military relative to enrolling in college, becoming employed, or doing some other activity after high school. Additionally, college aspirations are clearly associated with the decision to enroll in college versus enlist and also increase the odds of joining the military rather than the civilian labor market, or remaining idle. Unlike previous studies, few racial and ethnic differences are found.
Conclusion. Voluntary military enlistment during wartime is associated college aspirations, lower socioeconomic status, and living in an area with a high military presence.