Black Americans are much more likely to serve the nation, in military and civilian roles

National service holds out the promise of creating a fairer, better and more equal society. This is one reason why many policymakers, scholars and political leaders are urging an expansion of opportunities for service.

But to fulfill its promise, national service must become more representative of the nation that it serves. Right now, service is skewed by gender, race, and class. Particularly noteworthy, especially in the context of renewed attention to issues of racial inequality and justice, are the much higher rates of service to the nation among Black Americans. After providing descriptive data on both military and civilian service, we examine policies to promote broader representation.