Monday, December 27, 2004
Military Targets Latinos
Correction: In March of 2003, the Pew Hispanic Center published its report "Hispanics in the military." On page 5, analysts at Pew misread a chart on representation in military occupations by ethnicity and asserted that in 2001 Latinos made up 17.74% of the combat arms occupations. The original report can be accessed at the following link:
This error was reproduced widely (including in the above article). In reality, the figure showed that of all the Latinos in the military 17.74% were in combat arms occupations.
The above article also stated: "In the Army, Latinos and Latinas occupied 24.7 percent of such conscripts and in the Marine Corps, 19.7 percent." In reality, 24.7% of all Latinos in the Army and 19.7% of all Latinos in the Marine Corps were in combat positions.
According to the DoD's "Population Representation in the Military Services" for 2002, 18% of all Latinos were in combat occupations ("Infantry, Gun Crews, and Seamanship Specialists) compared to 18.5% of all whites and 11.7% of all African Americans. The highest percentage of Latinos--19.4%--was found in "Electrical/Mechanical Equpment Repairers" with 17.7% as "Functional Support and Administration." Among all Latino/as in the Selected Reserves, 16.6% were found in combat occupations.
Using 2002 numbers, therefore, there seems to be no evidence that Latinos and Latinas were overrepresented in combat positions with the possible exception of the Marine Corps where the percentage of Latinos in combat jobs exceeded the percentage of Latino/as in the general population. It will be important to review 2003 and 2004 numbers as soon as they are available so that we can understand the composition of U.S. forces in Iraq.