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Chapter 8:


The overall effects of the September 11th attack on enlistment propensity were small, and would probably require a larger survey to specify precisely. Across all age, gender, and race/ethnicity groups, there was no statistically significant change in propensity between the two quarters before September 2001 and the two quarters after that month. However, male propensity did increase, while female propensity decreased.

Despite the relatively small differences in propensity, most respondents to the Youth Polls and Advertising Tracking Survey indicated that the events at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon increased the likelihood that they would consider military service. This increase was fairly constant across the demographic groups that were discussed, with two exceptions. Females were evenly divided between indicating a positive and a negative effect of the attacks on their inclinations toward enlistment. Blacks predominantly indicated a negative effect of the events.

Results may be tempered by time. The percentage of respondents indicating that they would definitely or probably be serving in the military in the next few years increased from 19 to 21 percent following the attacks of September 2001 (pre-attack to post-attack).[Footnote 7]  In October, following the first U.S. military strikes in Afghanistan, long-term propensity remained high (21 percent). Propensity returned to the pre-attack level (19 percent) in November 2001. Possibly due to the holidays, the propensity measure dropped 3-percentage points to 16 percent in December 2001. But, the figure was up to a high of 24 percent in January during military strikes on terrorist targets before returning to pre-attack levels of 19 percent in February. These comparisons across time are generally not statistically significant—differences of 5 or more percentage points are statistically significant—however, increases in propensity are often considered to have practical significance to military recruiting.

[Footnote 7]  Millward Brown. US Military Services Tracking - America Under Attack: Impact on Propensity (March 14, 2002). Arlington, VA: Defense Manpower Data Center, 2002. [back to paragraph]


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