National Institute on Aging

Study Finds Army Vets Are More Comfortable With Racial Residential Integration Than Non-Vets

us_army_logoPrevious studies have shown that the U.S. Army has become one of the most racially integrated institutions in the nation. (See for example the 1996 book, All That We Can Be: Black Leadership And Racial Integration The Army Way by Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler).

A new study by sociologists at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Connecticut finds that soldiers’ experiences with racial integration in the military result in veterans being more willing to live in racially integrated neighborhoods once they return to civilian life. The data shows that White veterans have 3.2 percent fewer non-Hispanic Whites in their neighborhoods than those who have not served in the military.

The authors write that “in a society where racial residential segregation remains largely intractable for some marginalized groups, it is important to ask where we can find an exception to the rule and then ask why. In this paper we have addressed the first part of that question, showing that White U.S. veterans do not behave similarly to the average White civilian. This is a positive trend that has gone largely unnoticed.”

The study, “Residential Segregation: The Mitigating Effects of Past Military Experience,” was published in the November 2016 issue of the journal Social Science Research. It may be accessed here.


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