March 2, 2007:
In the United States, recruiters have noted a steady decline
in the proportion (to their population) of recruits coming from urban areas.
This is largely because so many potential recruits have to be turned down
because of the poor education they have received in urban schools. While only
21 percent of Americans live in rural areas, 44 percent of the qualified
recruits come from these areas. What's strange about all this is that the rural
areas spend much less, per pupil, on education, but get much better results.
Part of this can be attributed to differences in cost of living, but a lot of
it has to do with simply getting more done with less. Per capita, young people
in urban areas are 22 percent more likely to join the army, than those of the
same age in urban areas.
The rural recruits are also a lot easier to train, and generally make better
soldiers. The urban recruits often have a bad attitude, as well as a difficult
time getting along with others, and following instructions. The urban schools
deserve some of the blame for this, as rural schools tend to be far more
orderly, and put more emphasis on civil responsibility. Many of the urban
recruits are aware of these problems, and joined the service to learn useful
(for getting a job) social skills. Those skills are more often found among
rural recruits because out in the boondocks, people are more involved with
local government, and more involved in general. This has been noted in urban
neighborhoods, and for decades, many urban parents have sought to send their
kids to live with kinfolk in the country, to get the child away from the bad
influences of urban life.
For different reasons, the army is getting more of its officers from rural
areas. About two thirds of officers come from ROTC (Reserve Officer Training
Corps) programs at colleges. Because of growing anti-military attitudes in many
urban colleges, ROTC programs are disappearing from colleges in large cities.
New York City colleges produce less than ten percent as many ROTC officers today
than they did fifty years ago. The big drop came during the Vietnam war period,
when anti-war fervor at urban colleges led to ROTC programs being dropped. Most
of these were never restored. Thus, not only are a disproportionate number of
troops coming from rural areas, but so are a disproportionate number of the
officers, even though some of the best colleges are found in the cities.
Having a disproportionate number of troops and officers from the countryside
is an ancient pattern. In the past, there were different reasons for this, but
the end result was the same.