A Snapshot of Our Nation’s Veterans

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Ever wondered how many veterans there are in the United States? Or maybe which cities have the most veterans living in them? Well, we’re glad you asked because the U.S. Census infographics department has been hard at work making the data they collect more digestible to the general public. And as TIME’s Battlefield blogger Mark Thompson notes — you’ve already paid for the information — so why not learn something from it?

A Snapshot of Our Nation's Veterans infographic image [Source: U.S. Census Bureau] via TIME Battlefield

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  • doggirl

    I have read that many veterans are homeless. I wonder if the Census has any numbers on that.

  • Sandra2222

    Most of these statistics are not very useful … because there is no point of reference or the numbers are not comparative. Of course, California, Texas and Florida have more veterans than other states. They are among the largest states. The only thing it tells you is that New York, another populous state, probably has a lower percentage of veterans than the rest. These might be useful if they were percentages. While a few data are comopared to the national average, most are not, rendering the story the statistics should tell totally useless. This is an important subject. I expect more from one of my favorite sources of information on current issues.

  • Gene in L.A.

    It’s probably not practical to find that number, precisely because they are homeless; there’s nowhere to count them for census or to ask them specific questions.

  • Neal

    I agree, this is an extremely important subject and these stats don’t tell a complete story. Given his excellent track record, I expect Mr. Moyers will do more with this and perhaps have some guests on who can expand on it. I also expect these stats may change in the coming years based on the experiences and education level of our veterans. They’re not likely to continue puttiing their lives at risk for less than defense of the nation, and the way they are treated once they come home is disgraceful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Tracking.nut Wally O’Brien

    Sandra2222, Don’t know if you served in the military, or not. Because of some of the benefits that they get, retired military tend to settle around, or near, military facilities. They get to use these facilities as retired military. Also, because of the extra points they get for federal jobs, they tend to take federal jobs after they get out of the military. So when you talk about California and Texas, the reason that they have a high military population (veterans) is that they have a very high number of military installations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lang.lloveras Lang Lloveras

    Many veterans are homeless – and the more Republicans get elected to office – the more there will be – because they promote the idea that government Is the problem and the solution Is to starve the Beast. They prefer to use tax money to turn millionaires into billionaires rather than to fulfill our sacred obligation to those who have served this country honorably and well – and who have sacrificed to keep us free. An elementary-school friend of mine – a handsome kind and very smart young man – came back from Nam with PTSD at a time when the Pentagon was denying its existence. He died young homeless and uncared for on the streets of New Orleans – because of those policies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ben-Kilman/1127343765 Ben Kilman

    This may be why they called it a snapshot.

  • Carlos
  • http://www.facebook.com/tindelk Kay E. Tindel

    Clicking around the internet recently, I noticed statistics about veteran homelessness and veteran suicides. I think those statistics are probably more alarming than where those veterans with a home reside. One report (NY Times, 4/14/2012) reported that 6500 veterans commit suicide each year (one every 80 minutes). This is more than total soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

  • Doc Cook

    conservatives seem to think we are welfare recipients and are already whining that it cost too much money easily fixed don`t send anyone to war especially their little boy

  • Anonymous

    Killeen, TX is a small town just outside of Fort Hood, TX, where many military families live, go to school, and work. It is a disgrace to our Pentagon, Congress, and American people the homelessness and suicide rate of veterans. Visit a VA Hospital for an idea of how we further mistreat our veterans.

  • Andrew Hibbard

    Wally, what you say is true, but what Sandra said is also true. California has a population of about 30 million people. That’s about 10% of the population of the entire United States. Of course there are more veterans living there. There are more people there too. But it doesn’t say which states have the highest proportion of veterans living there. If we compared the proportion of veterans to overall population, then maybe North Carolina might have the highest percentage, because North Carolina has some large military bases too; and it has a much smaller population than California, Texas or Florida.

  • Grapes

    I think it is probably more accurate to say it the other way, as in, many of the homeless are veterans.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lesley.mclaughlin2 Lesley McLaughlin

    My Dad was a career Marine. Growing up, my siblings and I were imbued with a sense of pride that “we” were Marines. Thanks for drawing attention to these stats, and the for the information on help available to vets.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BarbaraBachmeierAlaska Barbara Bachmeier State House

    In Alaska, people who take training to be a voter registrar are provided no information about registering homeless people to vote. And the voter registration form makes no availability for Alaskans who do not have a standard house number and street name. I am absolutely certain that most homeless people in Alaska have not been able to register to vote. And this is wrong!

  • Chuck Smith

    Apparently serving in only ONE war wasn’t a stat of significance??

  • ek

    I got home from the middle-east last Nov. We had all these “Yellow-Ribbon” drills. The govt paid thousand of Dollars for these hotel rooms and Fancy “Lets get to work” sessions… I still dont have a job. VA says they have jobs….Only for the highly Educated. Federal Govt says they are hiring Vets. TSA wants you not to have a low credit score and not a Bankruptcy… I lost my business, owe over $400000,00 I lived as a closest Gay man in the army, close to 50 years old, had to sell my house for half of what it was worth so I could use it to pay rent for an Apt in the “Hood”. I can not stomach to be an OTR truck-driver again…. due to the fact I am so angry all the time. Went to the VA in Atlanta… that was a joke, then they billed me for services. I hate to throw race into it but was it because I was a white guy in a very unwhite. So any one wonder why the Suicide rate is so high!!! I wont lie I have thought about it myself.

    Congress, stop wasting money on these hype up “Job-Fairs”. If they dont pay a living wage, dont let them in! Race trac, Home depot, sears, and any other retail minimum wage employer. I made 78k in the Army and how am I to live on 7.50 an hour. That goes for the “per-mile-pay” trucking companies…that will definitely send a suicide-vet overboard.

    When you do have a “job-fair” send at least 50 hr reps from the VA and 50 From other Federal agencies…Those desks are so overwhelmed!!!!

  • John Burgess

    Many cities are starting veterans court very successful in getting vets out of jail and off the streets. If your cities doesn’t,t have a veterans court get one started and the hardest thing of it all is finding mentors…. exspecialy female mentors!

  • Crystal Hirsch

    I needs know HOW much whole veterans are there presents!! I have to gets answer before tomorrow social studies!!

  • chemalurgy

    Of course the numbers would look like this. It’s because these cities are where large bases exist. It doesn’t mean that’s where they are originally from.

  • http://twitter.com/BallerinaX BallerinaX

    Yes, an extremely important statistic, odd it Mr. Moyers would overlook it.

  • KBAnderson

    Where did the article say that it showed or would show where veterans were originally from? What it said and showed was “which cities have the most veterans living in them”. “IN” them at the time of the census.

  • tspnyc

    Well, that would basically include almost every veteran alive today. Since the answer would be nearly 100% it is not a significant stat in terms of conveying information, other than the fact America has been in too many wars since 1941.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=886450482 Jenell Scherbel

    Ain’t no good jobs in America anymore. While you were away, the jobs that paid well got sent overseas. Before you went away, manufacturing started to be outsourced in America since Reagonomics. Remember Reagon touting the “service economy.” Well, now it’s the “monetized economy.” That means the best jobs, and the engine that fuels the economy, is the same engine (private equity investments) that closes factories and/or sends them to China. I do wonder when people will “wise up” to the loss of decent-wage blue collar jobs, the loss of manufacturing industries in America, and the increasing loss of the middle class. There’s much to be angry about. Join an Occupy movement. Occupy the Veterans Administration!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=886450482 Jenell Scherbel

    As to how our vets are treated, I will never forget the day when the local Veteran’s Hospital dumped (literally) an elderly man in extreme physical decline on the steps of The Salvation Army in Austin, Texas, a facility not equipped to deal with this man’s physical condition. Our night director was a former officer and fired off a scathing letter after this incident. Incidents like these should also be reported to local newspapers. They happen more often than you want to know!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=886450482 Jenell Scherbel

    Your answer is in the first statistical picture. There are presently 21.8 million vets in the U.S. Look more closely. It’s divided into the number of male vets (20.2 million) and female vets (1.6 million).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=886450482 Jenell Scherbel

    I agree this is important. I don’t think it was intentionally overlooked, as this article is just passing on some stats done elsewhere. As to the suicides among vets, there are, as of February 2013, up to 22 per day, and one every 65 minutes, according to Melanie Haiken, contributor to Forbes Magazine. I hope it’s a prelude to a more in-depth examination of the treatment of vets by Mr. Moyers in the future.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=886450482 Jenell Scherbel

    There are, in fact, ways to count the homeless and this is done in other areas. Some is done directly, and Census Takers can be trained to go out among the homeless to interview them. Sometimes, there is also a partial estimate. I know this is true, because I’ve been a Census Taker for several of the 10-year census records. From a news story about the Austin, TX, count of the homeless: “The Census Bureau is mandated by the constitution to make sure that we count every resident of the United States”, said Lacey Loftin with the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • xnlover

    When Reagan – who benefited from being part of the Screen Actors Guild union – worked to break the air traffic controllers’ union, I knew that the US had been put on the track to the destruction of the middle class and the outsourcing of jobs overseas, until multi-national corporations had reduced the pay of the average American worker to the same level as that of workers in the developing nations that were now doing the jobs American workers had done before. The corporations – which, like Apple and GE and Exxon/Mobil and Walmart and others keep excess profits overseas so as not to pay taxes on them to the US – now own the US government, regardless of the party that is in power, though the Republican Party is more overt about who owns them than is the Democratic Party. Sadly, too many Americans are still too comfortable to revolt against this oligarchy that has developed, so it’s primarily the growing contingent of people below the (mythical) “poverty line” who bear the main brunt of these injustices. But someday, when enough of those who are comfortable now have dropped to the level of poverty, a revolt will boil up in this country that will make the Civil War look like a walk in the park. Sadly, following the revolt, a leader will emerge who will not be like a Lech Walesa in Poland after the fall of Communism or like Nelson Mandela in South Africa after the fall of apartheid. That leader will be more like Castro in Cuba after the US-supported Batista was defeated or like Mao in China after the Japanese were defeated and Chiang Kai Shek was marginalized on Taiwan.

  • Anonymous

    That statistics isn’t as useful in isolation. If it were put in the context of suicides by non-veterans each year, it would have more meaning and would show how much of an issue this really is. Suicide, in general, is up overall given the economy and the extended state of this second great depression.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Moyer’s didn’t over look it because it wasn’t part of the U.S. Census infographic.

  • Anonymous

    Those states also have a concentration of VA services available. It is informative as a “snapshot” — otherwise known as an “overview”… you want more, dig into the data. It is all available through the Census department if you care to look.

  • VJ

    So many veterans have died of suicide. So many have PTSD, multiple traumas, amputations, etc. The best way to support them is to give them the medical care, housing & education they need – and STOP CREATING MORE VETERANS! Time to get the h*ll out of Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

  • http://www.facebook.com/richardralph.roehl Richard Ralph Roehl

    It’s been one god damn war after another. War after war after war after war… ad nausea. What’s wrong with that picture?

  • http://twitter.com/BallerinaX BallerinaX

    All the more reason to add the information to the post.

  • Dale P.

    While war is hell for the person who has to fight it, its profitable for the crook behind the scenes. Look at how much Haliburton made during the Gulf War. There’s no telling how many or our politicians walked away with millions. Vietnam stunk of political involvement and corruption. Wars don’t last long when warriors are allowed to fight a war. These police actions are crap and our sons and daughter’s lives are worth a hell of a lot more than a police action.

  • Bobbie D Barnett

    As an Air Force Veteran of the Korean War Era I received the GI Bill earned by the Veterans of WWII & & Korea. This was one of the greatest Pieces of Legislation ever passed as many of our Veterans took advantage of this bill. If not for the Legislation we would not have received our educations. The cost of the GI bill was more than offset by the Educations we received.

  • Ken Davis, MSgt, USAF (Ret)

    As for the states with more than a million vets … some states have very low populations compared to the states listed. Some don’t even have a million people, vet or otherwise. How about a percentage of population for each state, like the cities listed?

  • Tim Hughes

    1/3 of the homeless are vets, and a third of those are women. Banks foreclose our homes, leaving more, literally, on the streets. A soldier, hopeless, commits suicide every 65mins. PTSD is treated with ‘mind-numbing’ drugs. I went to a vets ‘service’ center a few years ago to inquire about assistance with my ‘service-connected’ disability and housing…and left with a can of corn! I survived, still there are 1,000′s more veterans who need us to care. Let your senators know! We ‘support’ our troops when they fight, far away, in foreign lands and ignore them when they come home, or…

  • Larry M Johnson

    No mention of veterans that live abroad. I live in Vietnam and there are large numbers of veterans living in this country, and I suspect that many live in other countries. Any statistics on those living outside of the United States?

  • Nick

    Not really. There were almost 16 years between the end of the Vietnam
    era (March ’75) and the first Gulf war (February ’91). Tens of
    thousands of people enlisted, served their enlistments, and separated
    during those years; they too count as veterans.

  • Nick

    Not from this source, as the Census Bureau is only concerned with population in the U.S. DFAS would know how many retirees are in what countries and the VA would know where the disabled vets are, but since not all vets are retired or disabled, getting reliable stats may not be possible.

  • ShitTownMan

    This is going to sound insane but I think it raises a good point: Does the US Census not count the homeless? Are they not citizens too? How much of our Vet population is left homeless?

    I’d also be interested in if our increased cost of living (and the demand for higher education) has followed suit with how we repay out vets. Are they receiving more, less etc?

  • Terri EC Mom5

    The census tries to count the homeless but since they aren’t sitting in one place, the count is very inaccurate.

  • Robert H. Pike

    I’m impressed with the education level (96% H.S. grads) and the income level ($9,700 above average) of the vets. Glad the wars are winding down, glad we stayed out of Syria.

  • Anonymous

    Stop sending the troops to places where we have no business sending them, Iraq and Vietnam to name 2. When they are in need of medical or psychological help, make sure they get it. This is how we can really help them.

  • Anonymous

    Restore the G.I. Bill of Rights exactly as it was written in 1945! The guys in Congress who give lip service to Vets are the guys who emasculated the benefits. They got houses – No money down. They got a free College Education, they had to do nothing else to earn it. All got the same benefits even if hey had not been sent overseas.

  • Moira Croley

    I could not disagree with you more. I am a veteran and after serving went to college. I found that the liberal profs, and my major being English believe me they were really liberal, listened because I listened to them. I think from what i’ve seen of other vets in school are multiple. First many veterans joined the military because college wasn’t realistic not only economically but because either they didn’t like school in the first place, and although it has nothing to do with intelligence or ability the public school systems are failing. Second, especially if the veteran has been to combat, they are probably dealing with the after effects of that and lets not even get on the subject of military sexual trauma. While in school, everything is not covered by the GI bill or VA VocRehab so many have to work and add a spouse and or children? The odds are stacked against them. Most universities simply are not aware of and are not capable of handling students with such issues, and if the VA can’t handle the problems how can a university handle them?

  • Anonymous

    First, everyone has the possibility of going overseas, and it’s not their fault if they don’t. Second, stating that we did nothing to earn these benefits is like saying other industries do nothing to earn their paycheck or 401k or Christmas bonuses or their insurance. I know people who stand around doing nothing, have a union that prevents them from working overtime without extra pay, get sick days, have every holiday off, and still make more than me. Everyone makes it sound like the military is the only profession that gets benefits. I have been in the military for 15 years now. 8 of those have been spent overseas serving. I have missed all but three of my wife’s birthdays, countless holidays, two of my children being born. If you think that a (partially) free education and a VA home loan make up for that, I would really like to hear your opinion on how awesome Obamacare is.

  • AmeRican*51*Luis Arroyo

    Where the Hell is Puerto Rico and its 4 million Americans?

  • AmeRican*51*Luis Arroyo

    Oh.sorry. Its been addressed below…..

  • http://peacepaws.org Peace Paws

    They are absolutely not forgotten by me, neither is a fallen warrior from any nation that fought by our side and lost their own sons and daughters. Please visit PeacePaws,Org to see why I still serve.