U.S. Veterans Demographics and Statistics
The American Community Survey (ACS), conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, publishes detailed estimates on the veteran population each year. ACS data typically only counts veterans no longer in active service—in other words, people who are currently civilians.
Veterans make up a significant but declining percentage of the U.S. population, as veterans of older wars pass on. In 2011, there were nearly 1.9 million living veterans of World War II. By 2018, that number had dwindled to less than 500,000.
How has the U.S. veteran population changed over time?
Which states have the highest percentage of veterans?
According to a CDC survey, Alaska had the highest percentage of veterans in 2018: 15.32 percent of the state's adult residents. New York had the lowest, at 6.94 percent.
Note: Hover over individual state for more information. To see data from different years, use the time-slider beneath the map.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).
When did U.S. veterans serve in the military?
Note: Hover over a period of service to see the populations of living veterans who served during that period. Periods between major conflicts have been excluded from this chart.
How does median income compare for veterans and nonveterans?
On a national level, veterans' median income was about $41,500 in 2018, compared to roughly $30,800 for non-veterans.
How many veterans have service-connected disabilities?
The department of Veterans Affairs (VA) assigns ratings to disabilities that veterans received during their service, or for existing health issues that worsened because of their service. The ratings are assigned as a percentage scale, with higher percentages corresponding to more severe disabilities.
By Service-Connected Disabilities
This chart shows the populations of veterans with, and without, service-connected disabilities in the United States.
By Service-Connected Disabilities Rating
The chart below shows the former population broken down by the severity ratings of those disabilities.
About the Data
Data is from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS), 1-year estimates. This report uses the Census Bureau Data API but is not endorsed or certified by the Census Bureau. The population considered in this report only includes civilians 18 years and older. The following tables are used:
• Total Veterans: Table B21002
• Period of Military Service: Table B21002
• Median Income: Table B21004, civilians 18 years and older with income.
• Service-Connected Disabilities: Table B21100
This report also uses data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System