by Rolando Zenteno / Facing South - Since the U.S. ended the draft in 1973, young adults from Southern states* have been overrepresented among new military recruits. In fact, the region has been in a league of its own in terms of military recruitment since the late 20th century, with no other region experiencing as wide a disparity in military representation.

The disproportionate presence of new military recruits from the South can be understood by looking at the region's "representation ratio": its share of new recruits divided by its share of the U.S. young adult population. A ratio of 1 means a state's share of new recruits is equal to its share of the U.S. young adult population between the ages of 18 and 24, the typical age range for new enlistees. A ratio of less than 1 means a state is providing fewer recruits than might be expected given its young adult population, while a ratio of more than 1 means it's providing more than its fair share.