From 1998 to 2003, four percent of recent high school graduates not enrolled in school had enlisted in the Armed Forces by the October when they were age 18.
Non-Hispanic blacks—with an Armed Forces enlistment rate of 6.7 percent—were more likely to have enlisted in the Armed Forces soon after graduating from high school than were non-Hispanic whites (3.9 percent) or Hispanics (4.5 percent).
The percentage of high school dropouts enlisted in the Armed Forces was less than 1 percent.
These data are from the BLS National Longitudinal Surveys. To learn more about the employment and unemployment experience of youth see "America's Youth at 18: School Enrollment and Employment Transitions Between Ages 17 and 18," (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 06-320. These estimates are based on data collected from respondents who were age 17 in October during the years 1997 to 2002 and age 18 in October from 1998 to 2003. Note that youth who have received their General Educational Development (GED) credential are counted as high school graduates.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Enlistment of youth in the Armed Forces at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2006/feb/wk4/art01.htm (visited October 02, 2023).