SAN ANTONIO - AP - The casualty rate for Hispanic Texans in Iraq has been out of proportion for their population or their enlistment rate. That is also the case for Hispanics nationally, although it's not clear why.
Forty of the first 100 Texans killed in the war were Hispanic, a death rate that is about 18 percent higher than their representation in the population. Hispanics comprise just more than one-third of the state's 22.1 million residents, according to the latest census figures.
When measured by enlistment, the disproportion is even greater. Hispanics account for about 30 percent of Texans in the military, making the death rate 33 percent above their numbers in uniform.
"It's both substantively and significantly higher than we would expect," said Brian Gifford, a research fellow at the University of California in Berkeley who is studying Iraq deaths by ethnicity.
The Hispanic toll was even higher during the earliest weeks of the war. Before May 1, 2003 — the day President Bush declared an end to major combat operations — 14 Texans died in Iraq, and half of them were Hispanic.
The same held true for Hispanic soldiers and Marines overall — they comprise about 11 percent of those forces but accounted for 16.5 percent of the deaths during the invasion.
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