veterans day source census bureau
Percentage of Veterans Among the Adult Population

Estimates are the percentage of veterans amongst the civilian population 18 years and older.

November 12, 2017 - Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary marking 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 and a remembrance ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. The ceremony honors and thanks all who served in the U.S. armed forces.

The following facts are made possible by the invaluable responses to the U.S. Census Bureau’s surveys. We appreciate the public’s cooperation as we continuously measure America’s people, places and economy.  

Veterans

18.5 million

The number of military veterans in the United States in 2016.

Source:

aff file   2016 American Community Survey

1.6 million

The number of female veterans in the United States in 2016.

Source:

aff file   2016 American Community Survey

11.6%

The percentage of veterans in 2016 who were black. Additionally, 78.0 percent were non-Hispanic white, 1.6 percent were Asian, 0.7 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.2 percent were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and 1.3 percent were some other race. (The numbers for blacks, non-Hispanic whites, Asians, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, and some other race cover only those reporting a single race.

Source:

aff file   2016 American Community Survey

6.5%

The percentage of veterans in 2016 who were Hispanic.

Source:

aff file   2016 American Community Survey

9.2 million

The number of veterans age 65 and older in 2016. At the other end of the age spectrum, 1.6 million were younger than age 35.

Source:

aff file   2016 American Community Survey

When They Served

6.7 million

The number of Vietnam Era veterans in 2016. Moreover, there were 7.1 million who served during the Gulf War (representing service from August 1990 to present); 768,263 who served in World War II; 1.6 million who served in the Korean War; and 2.4 million who served in peacetime only.

Source:

aff file   2016 American Community Survey

The number of living veterans in 2016 who served during three wartime periods:

  • 65,562 served during the Vietnam Era and both periods of the Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001 and September 2001 or later).
  • 25,703 served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam Era.

The number of living veterans in 2016 who served during two wartime periods:

  • 1,150,328 served during both periods of the Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001 and September 2001 or later).
  • 285,649 served during the Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001) and the Vietnam Era.
  • 140,101 served during the Korean War and the Vietnam Era.
  • 56,105 served during World War II and the Korean War.

Source:

aff file   2016 American Community Survey

Where They Live

3

The number of states with 1.0 million or more veterans in 2016. These states were California (1.6 million), Texas (1.5 million) and Florida (1.4 million).

Source:

aff file   2016 American Community Survey

Education

28.3%

The percentage of veterans 25 years and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2016. In comparison, 31.5 percent of nonveterans had a bachelor’s degree or higher. 

Source:

aff file   2016 American Community Survey

Income

$40,076

The annual median income of male veterans in 2016, compared with $35,365 for male nonveterans.

Source:

aff file   2016 American Community Survey

$34,178

The annual median income of female veterans in 2016, compared with $23,445 for female nonveterans.

Source:

aff file   2016 American Community Survey

On the Job

7.0 million

The number of veterans 18 to 64 years old in the labor force in 2016. Of those veterans, 6.7 million were employed.

Source:

aff file   2016 American Community Survey

Service-Connected Disabilities

4.0 million

The number of veterans with a service-connected disability rating in 2016. Of this number, 1.3 million had a rating of 70.0 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 0.0 to 100.0 percent, and eligibility for compensation depends on one’s rating.

Source:

aff file   2016 American Community Survey

Voting

14.4 million

The number of veterans who voted in the 2016 presidential election. In that election, 69.6 percent of veterans cast a ballot, compared with 60.6 percent of nonveterans. These rates reflect the citizen voting-age population.

Source:

web file   Reported Voting and Registration, by Sex, Veteran Status, and Age: November 2016, Table 13

Business Owners

398,453

The number of all U.S. employer firms that are majority owned by veterans. Veteran-owned firms comprised 7.2 percent of the nation's 5.5 million employer businesses.

Source:

web file   2015 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs

Source: Census.gov
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