As the nation celebrates its veterans on Tuesday, it makes sense to take a look at who those veterans are.
As of the end of September, there were nearly 22 million veterans living in the United States, according to Department of Veterans Affairs estimates. But the population in each states is different. Some states’ veterans are older, some are younger. Some states have higher concentrations of women. Some have more World War II veterans, others are dominated by Gulf War era veterans.
Here are 10 maps that show what the veteran population looks like in each state, according to an analysis based on VA and Census Bureau data.
1. Veteran share of total population
California, Texas and Florida were home to the most veterans, with each counting more than 1.5 million among their total populations. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, though: The three are among the nation’s most populous states.
When you look at the number of veterans living in a state as a share of the total population — as we did in the map below — three less-populated states rise to the top. Roughly 1 in 10 people in Alaska, Maine and Montana are veterans, according to an analysis of VA and Census Bureau data. California, New Jersey and New York have the fewest veterans per capita, with roughly 1 in every 20 people there having served in the military.
(Note: The data do not align perfectly. The latest VA data provides veteran population estimates for the fiscal year ending at the end of September. The Census data reflects the latest three-year averages of the overall state population.)
2. Female share of veteran population
Women account for 14 percent of the veteran populations in Alaska and Virginia, a larger share than in any other state. West Virginia has the fewest female veterans, with women accounting for just 6 percent of all veterans.
3. Share of veteran population that served in wartime
At least 70 percent of the veterans living in any state served during wartime, with Virginia, Hawaii and Louisiana home to the largest shares. In each of those states roughly 4 in 5 veterans served during wartime.
4. Share of veteran population that served in peacetime
The share of the veteran populations that served only in peacetime was largest in in Vermont, New York and Indiana, where they accounted for roughly 29 percent of the overall veteran population.
5. Share of veteran population that served in WWII
The Northeast is home to some of the most concentrated World War II veterans, with that group accounting for 8 percent of the overall veteran population in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and 7 percent in New York. Georgia, Alaska and Virginia had the fewest WWII veterans, as a share of the overall veteran population.
6. Share of veteran population that served in the Korean War
New Jersey and Massachusetts are home to the largest shares of Korean War veterans, with that group accounting for about 12 percent of the veteran population in those states.
7. Share of veteran population that served in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War era veterans account for roughly a third of all veterans in virtually every state, with that group accounting for the biggest share in Idaho, New Mexico and Oregon.
8. Share of veteran population that served in the Gulf War era
Nearly half — 47 percent — of the veterans living in Alaska and Virginia served in the Gulf War era. Massachusetts, New Jersey and Connecticut were home to the fewest Gulf War vets, with that group accounting for just over 1 in 5 of all veterans living in those states.
9. Share of the veteran population ages 20 to 34
Young veterans, which we define as those aged 20 to 34, have congregated in Alaska, Hawaii and North Dakota, where they account for 17 percent, 15 percent and 14 percent of the overall veteran population.
10. Share of the veteran population age 65+
Just over half the veterans in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut are seniors age 65 or older. Alaska has the fewest as a share of its overall veteran population, followed by Virginia and Georgia.