In the U.S. Army, Asian-Americans have typically volunteered at the lowest rate of any ethnic group. They make up 4 percent of the population, and only 1 percent of military recruits.
But that seems to be changing. Something is suddenly drawing Asian-Americans in California into the Army at a remarkable rate. And there have been similar increases in other Asian-American population centers, like Seattle and New York.
In Los Angeles County last year, 22 percent of Army recruits were Asian-Americans — almost twice their proportion in the population. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the sign-up rate is also spiking. The proportion of newly enlisted soldiers who are Asian-Americans this year is nearly double that of last year.
Two of the reasons: Army pays for college and recruits don’t necessarily need to work in combat zones.