Military service was once a common bond among Sacramento men.
In 1970, roughly half of the four-county region’s civilian male adults had served in the U.S. military.
As of last year, that number had dropped to one in six.
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The main reason for the decline is the end of conscription. Large numbers of men were drafted into military service during World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam.
Those men have gotten older and many have died. The draft ended in the early 1970s.
Since the draft ended, fewer men have enlisted. Technology has allowed the United States to maintain the most dominant military in the world, but with fewer soldiers.
Also, the closure of McClellan and Mather military bases in Sacramento eliminated a reliable source of military veterans who had decided to retire near their former bases.
Today, there are about 137,000 male civilian veterans and 11,000 female veterans living in the Sacramento region.
Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau.
Note: The Census Bureau defined civilian adults as those 16 or older until 2000, when they changed the definition to 18 and older.