Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Rural areas' Iraq-and-Afghanistan combat death rate is 41% higher than that of rest of U.S.

The combat death rate of American soldiers from rural areas in Iraq and Afghanistan is 41 percent higher than the rate for soldiers from elsewhere in the U.S., Bill Bishop reports for the Daily Yonder. Using analysis from a study by researchers at Boston University and the University of Minnesota published in the Memphis Law Review the Yonder found that of 6,400 soldiers killed (at the time of the study) 523 were from rural areas, an average of 27.7 deaths per every one million residents. The rate in small cities of 10,000 to 50,000 residents was 28.2 deaths per every million residents. While urban areas had the most deaths, 5,099, the rate was 18.6 deaths per every million residents.

Some studies have shown that nearly half of military recruits come from rural areas, which account for only 15 percent of the U.S. population. BU and UM researchers credit this to rural areas' shortage of education and employment opportunities. The study, "Invisible Inequality: The Two Americas of Military Sacrifice," looked at 500,000 casualties since World War II, finding that "today, unlike in World II, the Americans who die or are wounded in war are disproportionately coming from poorer parts of the country."

Researchers wrote: "We find that both fatal and non-fatal casualties in America’s wars have come from parts of the country that are lower on the socioeconomic ladder. And those differences—small during World War II—have grown In sum. We believe there is extremely strong evidence that poorer parts of America are bearing a greater share of the human costs of war.” (Yonder map: Iraq and Afghanistan casualties by county population type)

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