We ask questions about a person's military service and service-connected disability rating to create estimates of veterans and their needs at the community level.
Data about veterans help plan and fund government programs that provide assistance or services for veterans and evaluate other government programs and policies to ensure they fairly and equitably serve the needs of veterans.
These statistics are also used to enforce laws, policies, and regulations against discrimination in society. Though the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) maintains veterans' records, these statistics do not provide federal program planners, policymakers, and researchers with additional statistics about all veterans, regardless of whether they use VA services.
We use your confidential survey answers to create statistics like those in the results below and in the full tables that contain all the data—no one is able to figure out your survey answers from the statistics we produce. The Census Bureau is legally bound to strict confidentiality requirements. Individual records are not shared with anyone, including federal agencies and law enforcement entities. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents' answers with anyone—not the IRS, not the FBI, not the CIA, and not with any other government agency.
We ask three questions about active duty service, the period of active duty, and service-connected disability status and rating to create a profile of our nation's veterans.
We compile the results from these questions to provide communities with important statistics to help plan assistance programs. You can see some of these published statistics here for the nation, states, and your community.
We want to know more about the numbers and characteristics of veterans eligible for federal programs benefiting veterans, such as:
This information helps communities and the federal government estimate the future demand for these programs and services. These data are also used to evaluate these programs to determine whether they are benefiting veterans as intended.
Local communities and the federal government want to know about the number of veterans eligible to use VA health care in combination with age, disability, and service-connected disability ratings, to estimate the future demand for health care services and facilities. Communities in need of major VA medical facilities throughout the country make a case for new construction projects using these data to estimate the expected usage of new facilities.
Information about where veterans are living toward the end of their lives is important, as the VA estimates the number of nursing home and domiciliary beds needed based on the concentrations of eligible veterans over age 65. These data are also important for the VA National Cemetery Administration, whose goal is to have a VA burial option within 75 miles of a veteran's residence. These data are used to plan construction of new cemeteries near the communities where veterans choose to live.
We want to know about the veteran and service-connected disability rating status of people in the community in combination with information about housing, employment, and education, to help the government and communities enforce against discrimination based on veteran or disability status.
Information about the characteristics of veterans returning to civilian life is also important to combat specific problems they may face. For example, researchers use these data to understand why veteran status is a predictor of homelessness. Such data have been combined with administrative data produced by shelters in an attempt to understand and document which interventions reduce homelessness among veterans.
The first question related to veterans was included in the 1840 Census. Questions about veteran status and period of military service were transferred to the ACS in 2005 when it replaced the decennial census long form. The current VA service-connected disability rating question was added to the ACS in 2008.