Here are ten statistics about veterans today compiled by USA Facts, a nonprofit organization founded by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Statista, the U.S. Census Department, the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Americans With Disabilities National Network.
1. Number of Veterans Dropping
In 2000, there were more than 26 million military veterans living in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. There are now fewer than 18 million. Old veterans are dying, and the military is smaller than it was decades ago, which means there are fewer young service members. Almost half of living veterans are 65 years-old or older.
2. Largest Living Contingent Served During Vietnam War
Vietnam veterans make up almost 36% of the living veteran population. World War II-era service members make up just 2.7% of the living veteran population, with Korean War veterans at 7.3%.
There’s a near-even split between veterans who served in the 1990s and those serving post-9/11, at about 21% each.
3. More Women Veterans Than Ever Before
Women still make up a small fraction of the Armed Forces. About 9% of living veterans are female. That’s double the number from 2000.
4. Almost A Third of Veterans Are Disabled
About 29% of veterans are disabled. That’s well above the overall U.S. population disability rate of 15%. The federal government in 2018 spent nearly $200 billion on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which funds veterans’ compensation, pension benefits and medical care. That’s about 5% of the federal budget.
5. Veterans Earn More Than The Average Population
The veteran poverty rate is about 7%, compared with 12% for the average population. Veterans make a median income of $41,555, compared with $31,476 for adult civilians. The veteran unemployment rate was 4% in 2018, about the same as the overall population.
6. More Veterans Live In California
According to Statista, there are 1.5 million veterans living in California as of 2018. Followed by Florida at 1.4 million and Texas at 1.4 million veterans. The only states with a veteran population over one million.
7. More Female Veterans Than Ever Before
There are currently 1,652,798 female veterans. Of those, more female veterans served in the U.S. Army, but the U.S. Air Force held the distinction of having the highest percentage of female veterans.
8. Veterans Enrolled In The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Increases
Of the 18 million veterans in the United States in 2018, a little more than nine million veterans are enrolled in the VA for health care services. That’s a 4% increase from 2016.
9. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Receives Low Rating
While the public expresses favorable views of many federal agencies, the VA received the lowest rating among 10 agencies and departments earlier this year. Roughly half of U.S. adults (49%) had a favorable view of the VA and 34% expressed an unfavorable view.
10. Number of Homeless Veterans Declines
There were nearly 55,000 homeless veterans in 2018. Veterans are still overrepresented among America's homeless population (about 8 percent). But the veteran homeless population has actually decreased by more than half since 2010.
The following rank-order represents states where most veterans are projected to live in 2045:
4. North Carolina
13. New York
Source: Map VA