War Fatalities Hurt Small Town America

<p>Small towns and rural areas hit by economic downturns have seen many of their young people enlist for lack of other opportunities -- and as a result they represent almost half of U.S. war fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan.</p>

February 21, 2007, 5:00 AM PST

By Michael Dudley

"Across the nation, small towns are quietly bearing the burden of the war in Iraq. Nearly half of the more than 3,100 U.S. military fatalities in Iraq have come from towns where fewer than 25,000 people live, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. One in five hailed from hometowns with fewer than 5,000 people."

"Many of the hometowns of the war dead aren't just small in population, they're poor. The AP analysis found that nearly three-quarters of those killed in Iraq came from towns where the per capita income was below the national average."

"Diminished opportunities are one factor in higher military enlistment rates in rural areas. From 1997 to 2003, 1.5 million rural workers lost their jobs because of changes in industries like manufacturing that have traditionally employed rural workers, according to the Carsey Institute."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 in Associated Press

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