A new report claims that the recent U.S. Army recruitment shortage can partially be attributed to a significant decrease in the number of white Army recruits over the past five years.
According to internal Army recruitment data obtained by Military.com, the significant decline in white Army recruits over the past five years has captured the Army’s attention since the decline comes as the Army fell roughly 10,00 recruits short of its goal in fiscal year 2023. With a goal of 65,000 new recruits, the U.S. Army reported roughly 55,000 new recruits in 2023.
Military.com reported that the Army had 44,042 new white Army recruits in 2018. However, the number of white Army recruits has decreased each year since 2018, falling to a low of 25,070 white Army recruits in 2023. The most significant decrease in white Army recruitment was a 6% drop from 2022 to 2023. Additionally, Military.com noted that while there have been other demographic shifts during that same time period, no other demographic has experienced such a sharp decline.
According to the recruitment data obtained by Military.com, 56.4% of new Army recruits were designated as white in 2018. By 2023, the number of new white Army recruits decreased to just 44%. During that same period, black Army recruits increased from 20% to 24% of the recruitment pool, and Hispanic Army recruits increased from 17% to 24% of the recruitment pool.
Military.com explained that the total number of black and Hispanic Army recruits did not experience a significant increase between 2018 and 2023; however, the recruitment pool percentage increased for both demographics due to the decrease in white Army recruits.
“What we’re seeing is a reflection of society; what we know less of is what is driving all of these things,” an Army official said in a statement to Military.com. “There is no widely accepted cause.”
Army officials told Military.com that multiple factors have contributed to the recruitment issue, including an increase in obesity in the United States, heightened criticism of the military due to political issues, and a public education system that lacks critical resources in America.
Military.com noted that the Army’s recruitment shortage comes as the Army has attempted to increase its presence in Europe and the Pacific, requiring a smaller force to execute a broadening mission.