NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Selective Service Registration Rates Down

May 17, 2000

With smaller, all-volunteer armed forces, military service is becoming a distant prospect for many young people -- and that is showing up in registration rates, according to a report to be issued today by the Selective Service System.

  • Although every man living in the U.S. is required to register for military service within 30 days of his 18th birthday, just 83 percent of those turning 20 this year have complied.
  • That figure is down from 90 percent just two years ago.
  • Southern states have the lowest compliance rates, while they are highest in New England and the Midwest.
  • High school dropouts and immigrants are among groups most likely not to comply.

Although rarely prosecuted, failure to register is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The military draft ended in 1973, but Congress reintroduced registration in 1980 in case it decided to reinstitute an actual draft.

Source: Andrea Stone, "Draft Registration Rates Are Dropping, Especially in South," USA Today, May 17, 2000.


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