Afghanistan and Iraq War Casualties by Hometown

CNN has an interesting feature mapping the hometowns and location where death occurred for US and coalition troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The hometowns of American soldiers killed in Afghanistan:

Aside from the sheer number of the dots, what jumps out is how few of the deaths are in the western part of the country until you get to the PacificĀ Coast.

The Iraq map is more full, owing to nearly double the casualties. But the pattern still holds:

While it’s true that the South and the Heartland disproportionately contribute to our all-volunteer force, the notion that our forces are mostly Nebraska farmboys is false. The western third of the country is incredibly sparsely populated with, again, the notable exception of the coast.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.


  1. Matt says:

    I have a map from an old project plotting every Wal-Mart in the US. It looks almost exactly the same, as does a satellite picture, taken at night. There are remarkably few people who actually live in the Mountain time zone.


  2. Dave Schuler says:

    I’m not sure what these maps tell us other than that many American soldiers have died in these wars. It would be interesting to see this same data somehow population and income adjusted.

    My intuition is that the maps, like a fan dancer’s fan, actually conceal while apparently revealing. Casualties haven’t been evenly distributed through all units: some units have taken higher casualties than others. I think specifically of National Guard units in which certain specialties have been concentrated as a matter of policy over the last couple of decades. National Guard units in particular are highly geographically organized and concentrating specialties in specific Guard units may result in casualties being taken disproportionately among soldiers originating in specific locales.