Veterans in the United States - Statistics & facts

Military veteran refers to a person who has served or is serving in the armed forces. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2017, there were more than 18 million veterans in the United States. In 2017, almost 6 million U.S. veterans had served in the Vietnam War, and less than 10 thousand remained from wars prior to World War II.

After the Second World War, veterans’ organizations pushed for and got the G.I. Bill enacted, which gave veterans access to free or subsidized education and health care. As of 2017, about 6.67 million veterans had attained some college or associate's degree, and more than 5 million veterans had obtained a Bachelor's degree or higher. The G. I. Bill also had a significant economic impact. With the aid of the U.S. government, veterans were able to buy housing and establish themselves as a part of the middle class. In 2017, about 8.4 million veterans, aged 65 and older, had an income above the poverty level, while roughly 487 thousand veterans of the same age group were living below the poverty line.

Veterans are often subject to illnesses directly related to their military service. The percentage of the Military Disability Rating is intended to reflect the degree to which the medical condition impairs the veteran’s ability to work. The higher the percentage, the worse the disability. In 2017, about 1.39 million veterans had a service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or higher.

Special governmental organizations and programs have been created to support veterans. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a government-run military veteran benefit system. The VA had outlays of about 176 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, and it is estimated that the financial support for military veterans will be at over 210 billion U.S. dollars by 2020.

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