The U.S military is one of the top five biggest militaries in the world. In terms of active duty personnel, it is just after China and India. Most of us know that we have a ginormous force, but have you ever wondered just exactly how many people there are in the military? And also, what percentage of Americans have served in the military? Today’s article will look at numbers from Statista in 2020 to give you a glimpse into this matter. We will do a teeny tiny bit of math to get the answer at the end. So, keep reading!
Table of Contents
How Many People Are in the U.S Military?
In 2020, the number of active and reserve U.S military force personnel were as follows:
- The Army
The Army (Active Duty) : 481,254 military personnel
The Army National Guard: 336,703 military personnel
The Army Reserve: 274,518 military personnel
Totaling 1,092,475 military personnel in the Army.
- The Navy
The Navy (Active Duty): 341,996 military personnel
The Navy Reserve: 101,223 military personnel
Totaling 443,219 military personnel in the Navy.
- The Air Force
The Air Force Active Duty: 329,614 military personnel
The Air National Guard: 107,414 military personnel
The Air Force Reserve: 95,079 military personnel
Totaling 532,107 military personnel in the Air Force.
- The Marine Corps
The Marine Corps Active Duty: 180,958 military personnel
The Marine Corps Reserve: 98,952 military personnel
Totaling 279,910 military personnel in the Marine Corps.
- The Coast Guard
The Coast Guard Active Duty: 40,558 military personnel
The Coast Guard Reserve: 7,724 military personnel
Totaling 48,282 military personnel in the Coast Guard.
In total, there was 2,395,993 military personnel in the U.S Armed Forces in 2020. 600,455 of this number were members aged 25 and under, 285,736 were 26 to 30 years old, 197,472 were between 31 and 25, 144,229 were 36 to 40, and 105,930 were 41 and over (counting only the active duty).
891,790 of the active duty personnel population had a high school diploma or GED, 190,664 had a Bachelor’s Degree, 115,877 had an Associate’s Degree. In contrast, 1,454 had no diploma and 24,706 did not disclose their education level. From this, we can see that most personnel joined the U.S Armed Forces fresh out of high school, and this made sense given that around 600 thousand of the active duty population were 25 years old or under.
As you can see, the Army has the most personnel out of all 5 branches of the U.S Armed Forces. The second most densely populated branch is the Air Force, whereas the scarcest branch is the Coast Guard.
Number of Active Duty Personnel From 2008 to 2019 (By Branches)
As you have seen the number of active duty personnel in 2020, let’s now look at the number for the years before that, starting from 2008.
- The US Army
2008: 539,675 military personnel
2009: 549,015 military personnel
2010: 561,979 military personnel
2011: 561,437 military personnel
2012: 546,057 military personnel
2013: 528,070 military personnel
2014: 504,330 military personnel
2015: 487,366 military personnel
2016: 471,271 military personnel
2017: 472,047 military personnel
2018: 471,990 military personnel
2019; 479,785 military personnel
- The US Navy
2008: 326,684 military personnel
2009: 324,239 military personnel
2010: 323,139 military personnel
2011: 320,241 military personnel
2012: 314,339 military personnel
2013: 319,838 military personnel
2014: 321,599 military personnel
2015: 323,334 military personnel
2016: 320,101 military personnel
2017: 319,492 military personnel
2018: 325,395 military personnel
2019: 332,528 military personnel
- The US Air Force
2008: 322,900 military personnel
2009: 328,847 military personnel
2010: 329,640 military personnel
2011: 328,821 military personnel
2012: 328,812 military personnel
2013: 326,573 military personnel
2014: 312,453 military personnel
2015: 307,326 military personnel
2016: 313,723 military personnel
2017: 318,580 military personnel
2018: 321,618 military personnel
2019: 327,878 military personnel
In 2020, the number of active duty Department of Defense members, which includes officers as well as enlisted personnel, was 1,333,822 – an increase from 2019’s 1,326,200. Here is a list of the DoD’s population in the preceding years:
2018: 1,304,418 military personnel
2017: 1,294,520 military personnel
2016: 1,288,596 military personnel
2015: 1,301,443 military personnel
2014: 1,326,273 military personnel
2013: 1,370,329 military personnel
2012: 1388,028 military personnel
2011: 1,411,425 military personnel
2010: 1,417,370 military personnel
2009: 1,405,176 military personnel
2008: 1,387,674 military personnel
What Percentage of the U.S Population Serves in the Military?
As we have mentioned earlier, there were 2,395,993 military personnel in the five branches of the Armed Forces in 2020. Juxtaposing this with the U.S population at the time — 329.5 million, it is possible to compute that the percentage of the population in the military was 0.727%.
If you are interested, here is the math bit:
- The number of military personnel in 2020 / U.S population in 2020
- 00727160242 x 100 (To convert into a percentage)
Hence, the percentage of Americans in the military is 0.727%.
Assuming that the U.S population number published online only takes into account those with a valid U.S citizenship and that there is no exception to the rule that you must be an American to serve in the military, the percent of American citizens who serve in the military is also 0.727%.
Bonus Section (2019 Numbers)!
If you want to look into this question prior to 2020, here are a few key figures of U.S veterans in 2019:
- The Number of U.S Female Veterans in 2019
Between 18 and 34 years old: 265,690
Between 35 and 54 years old: 629,342
Between 55 and 64 years old: 402,172
Between 65 and 74 years old: 207,845
75 years old and older: 131,438
- The Number of U.S Male Veterans in 2019
Between 18 and 34 years old: 1,202,707
Between 35 and 54 years old: 3,415,383
Between 55 and 64 years old: 2,732,633
Between 65 and 74 years old: 4,335,854
75 years old and older: 4,095,187
Using this data, we can see the percentage of the population who were veterans in 2019:
- The Percentage of U.S Female Veterans in 2019
Between 18 and 34 years old: 0.72
Between 35 and 54 years old: 1.51
Between 55 and 64 years old: 1.83
Between 65 and 74 years old: 1.23
75 years old and older: 1
- The Percentage of U.S Male Veterans in 2019
Between 18 and 34 years old: 3.17
Between 35 and 54 years old: 8.37
Between 55 and 64 years old: 13.34
Between 65 and 74 years old: 29.45
75 years old and older: 43.92
As you have just read, the short answer to “What percentage of Americans have served in the military in 2020?” is 0.727%. Hopefully, the data that we have provided in this article is useful for your reference. If you have any other questions to ask or thoughts to share, reach out to us in the comments below. Otherwise, please help us share this content with other readers! Thank you!
I am Everett Bledsoe, taking on the responsibility of content producer for The Soldiers Project. My purpose in this project is to give honest reviews on the gear utilized and tested over time. Of course, you cannot go wrong when checking out our package of information and guide, too, as they come from reliable sources and years of experience.