America’s veterans: Who they are

An unidentified man is seen in the reflecton of the Vietnam Memorial  on Veteran's Day 2013. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)
An unidentified man is seen in the reflecton of the Vietnam Memorial  on Veteran’s Day 2013. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Here are some facts and figures explaining who America’s veterans are, when they fought, and more. This is courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, which puts out data on major American holidays every year.

Veterans Day 2013: Nov. 11
Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor those who served in all American wars. The day honors military veterans with parades and speeches across the nation. A national ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

VETERANS

21.2 million
Number of military veterans in the United States in 2012.
Source: 2010-2012 American Community Survey

1.6 million
Number of female veterans in the United States in 2012.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey

11.3 percent

Percent of black veterans in 2012. Additionally, 5.7 percent were Hispanic; 1.3 percent were Asian; 0.8 percent were Native Americans or Alaska Native; 0.2 percent were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 79.6 percent were non-Hispanic white. (The numbers for blacks, Asians, Native Americans and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, and non-Hispanic whites cover only those reporting a single race.)
Source: 2012 American Community Survey

9.6 million
Number of veterans 65 and older in 2012. At the other end of the age spectrum, 1.8 million were younger than 35.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey

WHEN THEY SERVED

7.4 million
Number of Vietnam-era veterans in 2012. Moreover, there were 5.4 million who served during the Gulf Wars (representing service from August 1990 to present); 1.6 million who served in World War II (1941-1945); 2.3 million who served in the Korean War (1950-1953); and 5.3 million who served in peacetime only.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey

54,117
Number of living veterans in 2012 who served during the Vietnam era and both Gulf War eras and no other period. Other living veterans in 2012 who served during three wars:

 The number who served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam era, 50,004, was not statistically different than the number who served during the Vietnam era and both Gulf War eras. Living veterans in 2012 who served during two wars and no other period:
 933,315 served during both Gulf War eras.
 307,376 served during both Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001) and Vietnam era.
 209,183 served during both the Korean War and the Vietnam era.
 113,269 served during both World War II and the Korean War.

Source: 2012 American Community Survey

WHERE THEY LIVE

3
Number of states with 1 million or more veterans in 2012. These states were California (1.9 million), Texas (1.6 million) and Florida (1.6 million).
Source: 2012 American Community Survey

13.6 percent
Percent of people 18 years and older in Alaska who were veterans in 2012; this is the highest percentage of veterans of any state. Montana followed with 12.7 percent.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey

EDUCATION

26.7 percent
Percent of veterans 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree in 2012. In comparison, 29.1 percent of the total population had a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey

29.2 percent
Percent of veterans 25 and older with a high school diploma in 2012, compared with the 28.0 percent of the population as a whole.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey

INCOME

$36,264
Annual median income of veterans in 2012, compared with $26,278 for the population as a whole.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey

ON THE JOB

8.7 million
Number of veterans 18 to 64 in the labor force in 2012.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey

SERVICE CONNECTED DISABILITIES

3.6 million
Number of veterans with a service-connected disability rating in 2012. Of this number, 881,981 had a rating of 70 percent or higher. A “service-connected” disability is one that was a result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. Severity of one’s disability is scaled from 0 to 100 percent, and eligibility for compensation depends on one’s rating.

VOTING

14.7 million
Number of veterans who voted in the 2012 presidential election. Seventy percent of veterans cast a ballot in the presidential election.
Source: Table13. Reported Voting and Registration, by Sex, Veteran Status, and Age: November 2012

12.4 million
Number of veterans who voted in the 2010 congressional election. Fifty-seven percent of veterans voted in the 2010 congressional election.
Source: Table13. Reported Voting and Registration, by Sex, Veteran Status, and Age: November 2010

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Local
Next Story
Valerie Strauss · November 11, 2013