The number of Americans ages 17-24 who are qualified to and interested in joining the Army, out of a total of 33.4 million, according to a recent article in Army Times, Top recruiter: Just 136,000 out of 33 million young Americans would join the Army.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA)m U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) Sgt. Maj. Anthony Bowers said:
“Many of today’s youth are not inclined to want to leave their family and friends,” he said. “Family and friends, they oppose them joining the military service.”
And according to a study, many young Americans see the Army as a last resort, not a top choice for their future.
According to the article, a large number of people who join the Army do so because they have a family member or friend who has served. At this point in time, only about 1% of the population overall serves in the military.
Of the 33.4 million target population, only 9.7 million are qualified to join the Army, according to USAREC statistics. Reasons for disqualification include fitness and weight standards, medical issues, misconduct, substance use and mental health.
Then they have to be available to join, i.e. they’re not already enrolled in college. That brings the number down to 5.7 million. And because the Army isn’t looking for just the bare-minimum qualifying recruits, USAREC says only 1.7 million of those young people are of the high quality they want.
Finally, of those 1.7 million, USAREC estimates that just 136,000 young people would even be interested in joining the Army.