Veterans Day by the Numbers
submitted by Stu Johnson, editor
Posted: November 9, 2017
The 2017 profile from the U.S. Census Bureau
The following information is from an email update sent by the U.S. Census Bureau in October 2017 (two corrections were received and made in this article on November 9).
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. [Detailed urls have been replaced with the name of the source document,, but the link will still take you to the specific source document - SeniorLifestyle editor].
NUMBER OF VETERANS
18.5 million - number of military veterans in the United States in 2016.
1.6 million - number of female veterans in the United States in 2016.
11.6% - 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.)
6.5% - percentage of veterans in 2016 who were Hispanic.
9.2 million - 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.
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.
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.
WHERE VETERANS LIVE
3 states had 1.0 million or more veterans in 2016: California (1.6 million), Texas (1.5 million) and Florida (1.4 million).
28.3% - 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.
$40,076 - annual median income of male veterans in 2016, compared with $35,365 for male nonveterans.
$34,178 - annual median income of female veterans in 2016, compared with $23,445 for female nonveterans.
ON THE JOB
7.0 million veterans 18 to 64 years old were in the labor force in 2016. Of those veterans, 6.7 million were employed.
4.0 million - veterans had 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.
14.4 million - 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.
398,453 - of all U.S. employer firms are majority owned by veterans. Veteran-owned firms comprised 7.2 percent of the nation's 5.5 million employer businesses.
[Census Bureau] Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error.