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Author: Buck, Christopher
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Asch, Beth J.
Buck, Christopher
Klerman, Jacob Alex
Kleykamp, Meredith
Loughran, David S.
Military Enlistment of Hispanic Youth: Obstacles and Opportunities
RAND Report MG-773-OSD, RAND National Defense Research Institute, 2009.
Cohort(s): NLSY79, NLSY97
Publisher: RAND
Keyword(s): Fertility; Health Factors; High School Completion/Graduates; High School Diploma; Language Problems; Military Enlistment; Military Recruitment; Military Service; Obesity; Substance Use; Test Scores/Test theory/IRT

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An implicit goal of Congress, the Department of Defense, and the armed services is that diversity in the armed services should approximate diversity in the general population. A key aspect of that diversity is the representation of Hispanics. Although polls of Hispanic youth show a strong propensity to serve in the military, Hispanics are nevertheless underrepresented among military recruits. The authors discuss the major characteristics that disproportionately disqualify Hispanic youth and explore the following questions: If recruiting standards were relaxed, what would be the effect on military performance? What actions could be taken to increase Hispanic enlistments? Finally, they examine several approaches to increasing enlistments -- increasing the number of Hispanic youth who are eligible and would meet the military's entry standards, increasing interest and recruiting more intensively among the qualified Hispanic population, and targeting recruiting toward less-qualified Hispanics.

Hispanics are a growing segment of the youth population, yet they have historically been underrepresented among military recruits. A widely cited reason is Hispanics’ below-average rate of graduation from high school, combined with the services’ preference for recruits with high school diplomas. But other, less studied, factors may also contribute. Such factors might include lack of language proficiency as reflected in aptitude test scores; fertility choices; health factors, such as obesity; and involvement in risky activities, such as the use of illegal drugs. These factors, to the extent they are present in the Hispanic population, could adversely affect the services’ ability to meet their enlistment standards.

Our project, “Hispanic Youth in the U.S. and the Factors Affecting Their Enlistment,” analyzed the factors that lead to the underrepresentation of Hispanic youth among military enlistments. To help policymakers evaluate the feasibility of improving Hispanic enlistments by recruiting more intensively from among the population that is qualified for service and the implications of recruiting Hispanics who are less qualified, we also analyzed both the nonmilitary opportunities available to qualified Hispanic youth and the consequences of recruiting less-qualified Hispanic youth.

Bibliography Citation
Asch, Beth J., Christopher Buck, Jacob Alex Klerman, Meredith Kleykamp and David S. Loughran. "Military Enlistment of Hispanic Youth: Obstacles and Opportunities." RAND Report MG-773-OSD, RAND National Defense Research Institute, 2009.