Risky Jobs Beyond the Military

Men do the great majority of the risky jobs, partly because they are on average bigger and stronger than women, and partly because of their hormones and societal expectations. And they get killed or injured in much greater numbers accordingly. Men were a dozen times as likely to be killed on the job during 2012 as women, according to this ranking from Forbes Magazine.

The exact ranking of the riskiest professions varies somewhat from Forbes to AOL, but the top two on both lists are fisherman and loggers. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers are third. Not surprisingly, structural iron and steel workers and roofers are high (no pun intended) on both lists. Surprisingly, farmers and ranchers are in the top ten, but firemen are not.

Given the riskiness, most of the jobs do not pay very well. Perhaps there is a lot of psychic income, as some of the jobs are pretty macho. But they’re still risky.

U.S. Military Casualties

Serving in the military in an active combat zone puts young men in harm’s way. The
number of U.S. casualties from wars starting with the Revolutionary War (an estimated
25,000) through the current “War on Terror”–Afganistan and Iraq combined–(5,200)
is well documented. Actually, the Civil War (625,000 casualties) was the bloodiest,
though only 213,000 were attributed to combat itself.

Wars were always bloody, but today’s are nastier than ever due to the variety of
weapons and the fanaticism of the enemies motivated by extreme religions (e.g.,
suicide bombers). Actually, the number of deaths in the current War on Terror
(Afganistan and Iraq combined) has been relatively small, but the number of wounded
is nearly eight times the number of deaths, which serves as a constant reminder that
likely discourages enlistment. And while it is hard to prove it conclusively, today’s
wounded veterans may be less proud of serving their country than earlier wars’ veterans.

There have been relatively few American women killed in combat throughout history, though it has increased in recent years. The total of 143 as of April 1, 2013 is small relative to men. So it continues to be predominantly young men who die young.