Document Type



Winter 2008


military, race-ethnicity, class, immigration, youth, education




Family, Life Course, and Society | Military History | Race and Ethnicity | Sociology


This article discusses the history of participation of the three largest racial–ethnic groups in the military: whites, blacks, and Latinos. It empirically exa-mines the likelihood of ever having served in the military across a variety of criteria including race–ethnicity, immigrant generation, and socioeconomic status, concluding that significant disparities exist only by socioeconomic status. Finally, the article offers an in-depth look at Latinos in the military, a group whose levels of participation in the armed services have not been thoroughly investigated heretofore. The findings reveal that, among Latinos, those who identify as “Other Hispanic” are more likely to have served in the military than Mexicans, while Puerto Ricans are not significantly different from Mexicans in their service. An important finding of this study is that a large percentage of Latinos who have served in the armed forces are children of immigrants. Thus, even among Latinos, immigrants are not significantly less likely to have served in the military than those with two U.S.-born parents.