Published On: Wed, Nov 11th, 2015

Fast Facts On America’s Nearly 20 Million Veterans


Today marks Veterans Day in the United States, a holiday originally known as Armistice Day and declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. Originally established to commemorate the end of the First World War, it became Veterans Day in 1954. The chart below provides some fast facts about America’s nearly 20 million veterans. In 2010, there were 21.8 million veterans in the United States and this decreased to 19.3 million in 2014. 998, 377 Second World War veterans were still alive in 2014, along with 36, 386 who each served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined.


Statistics and facts about Veterans in the United States

As of 2011, there were about 21.5 million war veterans in the United States. Of these, 1.5 million were women. Veterans make up about 13 percent of the American population and nearly one in four men has served in the military.

The largest proportion, some 7 million, served in the Vietnam Era between 1965 and 1973. The second largest group of war veterans served in the first Gulf War between 1990 and 2001 (about 2.3 million veterans).

When returning to civilian life, most veterans work in such occupations as management or production. As of 2011, they had a higher median income than non-veterans.

Not all veterans return unharmed from duty. 30% of veterans who have served during Operation Iraqi Freedom require constant care.

The overwhelming majority of caregivers are veterans’ spouses – 70 percent of veterans are cared for by their wives. Care giving for veterans involves a high level of emotional stress and sacrifice. Thus, 47 percent of caregivers for veterans had to stop working.

The most common cause for care is mental illness. 60 percent of veterans that receive care suffer from some form of Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while only 5 percent need care due to amputated limbs.

In order to help veterans and their relatives cope with the problems of care giving and rehabilitation, veterans in the U.S. are entitled to a number of government sponsored benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is the second largest department in the U.S. Government after the Department of Defense and had a total budget of about 130 billion U.S. dollars in 2012.


This chart shows the number of U.S. veterans from 2010 to 2014.

Infographic: Fast Facts On America's Nearly 20 Million Veterans | Statista

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