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Facts for Features
CB09-FF.21
Oct. 13, 2009

Veterans Day 2009: Nov. 11

Veterans Day originated as "Armistice Day" on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of 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 living military veterans with parades and speeches across the nation. A national ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

23.2 million

The number of military veterans in the United States in 2008.
Source: Table 508, Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010
<http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

Female Veterans

1.8 million

The number of female veterans in 2008.
Source: Table 508, Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010
<http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

Race and Hispanic Origin

2.3 million

The number of black veterans in 2008. Additionally, 1.1 million veterans were Hispanic; 276,000 were Asian; 160,000 were American Indian or Alaska Native; 27,000 were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 18.3 million were non-Hispanic white. (The numbers for blacks, Asians, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, and non-Hispanic whites cover only those reporting a single race.)
Source: 2008 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DatasetMainPageServlet?_program=ACS&_submenuId=&_lang=en&_ts=>

When They Served

9.2 million

The number of veterans 65 and older in 2008. At the other end of the age spectrum, 1.9 million were younger than 35.
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, unpublished data

7.8 million

Number of Vietnam-era veterans in 2008. Thirty-three percent of all living veterans served during this time (1964-1975). In addition, 5.2 million served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present); 2.6 million in World War II (1941-1945); 2.8 million in the Korean War (1950-1953); and 6 million in peacetime.
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, unpublished data

50,000

Number of living veterans in 2008 who served during the Vietnam Era and both Gulf War eras.

Other living veterans in 2008 who served during three wars:

  • 92,000 served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam Era.

Living veterans in 2008 who served during two wars:

  • 740,000 served during both Gulf War eras.
  • 245,000 served during both the Korean War and the Vietnam Era.
  • 182,000 served during both World War II and the Korean War.

Source: 2008 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DatasetMainPageServlet?_program=ACS&_submenuId=&_lang=en&_ts=>

Where They Live

5

Number of states with 1 million or more veterans in 2008. These states were California (2.1 million), Florida (1.7 million), Texas (1.7 million), New York (1 million) and Pennsylvania (1 million).
Source: Table 508, Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010
<http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

Education

26%

Percent of veterans 25 and older with at least a bachelor's degree in 2008.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DatasetMainPageServlet?_program=ACS&_submenuId=&_lang=en&_ts=>

91%

Percent of veterans 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher in 2008.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DatasetMainPageServlet?_program=ACS&_submenuId=&_lang=en&_ts=>

Income

$36,779

Annual median income of veterans, in 2008 inflation-adjusted dollars.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DatasetMainPageServlet?_program=ACS&_submenuId=&_lang=en&_ts=>

On the Job

10.4 million

Number of veterans 18 to 64 in the labor force in 2008.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DatasetMainPageServlet?_program=ACS&_submenuId=&_lang=en&_ts=>

Disabilities

5.5 million

Number of veterans with any type of disability in 2008.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DatasetMainPageServlet?_program=ACS&_submenuId=&_lang=en&_ts=>

Service-Connected Disability Ratings

3.4 million

Number of veterans with a service-connected disability rating. Of this number, 588,000 have a rating of 70 percent or higher.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DatasetMainPageServlet?_program=ACS&_submenuId=&_lang=en&_ts=>

Voting

15.8 million

Number of veterans who voted in the 2008 presidential election. Seventy-one percent of veterans cast a ballot, compared with 63 percent of nonveterans.
Source: Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/voting/cb09-110.html>

Business Owners

14.5%

Percentage of owners of firms responding to the 2002 Survey of Business Owners who were veterans. Veteran business owners comprised an estimated 3 million of the 20.5 million owners represented by survey respondents.
Source: Characteristics of Veteran-Owned Businesses: 2002
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/business_ownership/cb07-98.html>

68%

Percentage of veteran owners of respondent firms who were 55 and older. This compares with 31 percent of all owners of respondent firms. Similarly, in 2002, 55 percent of veteran-owned respondent firms with employees reported that their businesses were originally established, purchased or acquired before 1990, compared with 36 percent of all employer respondent firms.
Source: Characteristics Veteran-Owned Businesses: 2002 and Characteristics of Veteran Business Owners: 2002
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/business_ownership/cb07-98.html>

7%

Percentage of veteran business owners of respondent firms who were disabled as the result of injury incurred or aggravated during active military service.
Source: Characteristics of Veteran-Owned Businesses: 2002 and Characteristics of Veteran Business Owners: 2002
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/business_ownership/cb07-98.html>

Benefits

2.9 million

Number of veterans who received compensation for service-connected disabilities as of 2008. Their compensation totaled $36.2 billion.
Source: Tables 511 and 512, Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010
<http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

$84.4 billion

Total amount of federal government spending for veterans benefits programs in fiscal year 2008. Of this total, $40.2 billion went to compensation and pensions, $37.9 billion for medical programs and the remainder to other programs, such as vocational rehabilitation and education.
Source: Table 511, Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010
<http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

Following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series:

  • African-American History Month (February)
  • Super Bowl
  • Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
  • Women's History Month (March)
  • Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
          St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
  • Older Americans Month (May)
  • Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
  • Mother's Day
  • Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
  • Father's Day
  • The Fourth of July (July 4)
  • Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
  • Back to School (August)
  • Labor Day
  • Grandparents Day
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
  • Unmarried and Single Americans Week
  • Halloween (Oct. 31)
  • American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • The Holiday Season (December)

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. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: <PIO@census.gov>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: August 28, 2014