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SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 28 (OneWorld) - Rural communities are experiencing a disproportionate amount of U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new study by the Carsey Institute, a think tank at the University of New Hampshire.
"The mortality rate for soldiers from rural America is about 60 percent higher than the mortality rate for soldiers from metropolitan areas," the Institute's William O'Hare told OneWorld.
According to the study, 825 of the first 3,095 Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan--or 27 percent--came from rural America, even though rural areas account for only 19 percent of the U.S. population.
Soldiers from rural Vermont have the highest death rate in the nation, followed by Delaware, South Dakota, and Arizona.
Dee Davis, president of the Kentucky-based Center for Rural Strategies, told OneWorld that U.S. military efforts overseas are increasingly hitting home in America's heartland.
"This year we did polling around the election in contested Congressional races," he said, "and what we found was that 75 percent of rural voters knew somebody who had been to Iraq or Afghanistan."
"In small towns and rural communities the war is not an abstraction," he added. "You have a visceral idea of what this war means. So many police and firefighters are also members of the National Guard."
Davis said patriotism is one factor leading to increased military service in rural America, but added that the dearth of non-military job opportunities is also important.
The Carsey Institute's O'Hare, who helped conduct the study, agrees.
"A lot of people don't know that a higher percentage of the rural workforce is in manufacturing than the urban workforce.
Summarized by Copernic Summarizer