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Veterans Statistics

Veterans Day 2013

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On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, World War I ended. The end of the War to End All Wars was commemorated on every following November 11 by the observance of what was once known as Armistice Day. This observance became a national holiday by an act of Congress, and in 1954 U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans Day. In this way all U.S. veterans are honored on November 11 of each year.

Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Census Bureau both collect data concerning the nation's members of the Armed Forces primarily by use of three data collecting surveys. These surveys are the American Community Survey, Current Population Survey, and Survey of Income and Program Participation. As with most of these kinds of surveys, the most up to date numbers are a few years old.

Here are some veteran related statistics for Veterans Day:

  • There were 21.9 million veterans in the United States in 2009.
  • Of the nearly 22 million U.S veterans, 1.5 million were females. This means that females comprise nearly 7% of the nation's veterans and males make up 93%.
  • The racial profile of U.S. veterans for those reporting a single race is varied:
    • 80.8% reported White
    • 10.5% said African- American
    • 5.0% stated Hispanic
    • 1.2% responded Asian-American
  • A break down of the number of living veterans by times of service:
    • 2.3 million veterans were in World War II (1941-1945)
    • 2.7 million veterans were in the Korean War (1950-1953)
    • 7.6 million veterans served in the Vietnam-era (1964 to 1975)
    • 4.5 million veterans served during the Gulf War (1990 to present)
    • 5.6 million veterans served peacetime only.
  • Some of the veterans in the above listing served in more than one conflict:
    • 47,000 veterans served during the Vietnam era and both Gulf War eras but in no other period.
    • 78,000 served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam era.
    • 741,000 served during both Gulf War eras.
    • 230,000 served during both the Korean War and the Vietnam era.
    • 156,000 served during both World War II and the Korean War.
  • The median age of all living veterans was 60 years old in 2007. The median age was 61 for men and 47 for women.
  • The states with the most veterans are California, with 2 million, Florida and Texas - each with 1.6 million. These three states account for nearly 24% of all veterans.
  • Not surprisingly, the median ages of living veterans varies by when they served:
    • Gulf War era - 37 years old
    • Vietnam era - 60 years old
    • Korean War era - 76 years old
    • World War II era - 84 years old
  • Veterans from the WWII era are passing away at a rate of nearly 1,000 per day.
  • 5.5 million veterans have a disability.
  • About 20% of the U.S. population is a dependent child or spouse of a veteran.
  • 71% of veterans cast a ballot in the 2008 election. As a comparison with the general population, only 63% of those who are not veterans voted in the 2008 election.
  • The median annual income of veterans was $35,402 in 2009 inflation adjusted dollars.
  • The total amount of federal government spending on veterans is $95.6 billion.
  • Of veterans age 25 and older, 92% of them have a high school diploma. In comparison 85% of the entire U.S. population age 25 and older has a high school diploma.

Whenever you get the opportunity, be sure to thank a veteran for his or her service. Don't feel the need to wait until November 11.

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