Report: U.S. service members population falls nearly 3% over past year

Cadets celebrate the graduation hat toss at the conclusion of the West Point graduation ceremony in Michie Stadium at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York on May 27. A Defense Department report said the population of service members declined in 2022. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The number of U.S. servicemembers dropped by 2.7% over the past year while the percentage of women in the military increased slightly, according to new statistics from the Defense Department's 2022 Demographics Profile of the Military Community.

The report counted 2,077,630 service members, 58,282 members lower than the same time in 2021. The new statistics said women now make up 17.5% of the active duty forces. The number of women in active duty has increased 2.9% and selected reserve forces by 4.4%.

"The Demographics Profile of the Military Community and research conducted by the Department ensures we have the quality data we need to understand and respond to the ever-changing needs of our service members and their families," said Patricia Montes Barron, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Military Community and Family Policy, in a statement.

"The updated demographic data and trends help the department assess and tailor our policies and programs to best support our service members and their families."

The report said nearly 30% of the total defense forces identified with a racial minority group and 17.3% identified themselves as Latinos. It also said that 37% of the Department of Defense members have spouses, 62.6% have children and 0.3% have adult or other dependents.

"Data highlighted in the report includes information from all services, including gender, race, age, education, family members, paygrades and geographic location," the Defense Department said in a statement. "It provides a standard resource for policymakers, program planners and those analyzing to support the military community."