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Data Uses

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Why do we ask questions about veteran status and period of military service? (Asked 1840, 1890, 1910, since 1930)


Veteran status, including period of military service, is used primarily by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to measure the needs of veterans and to evaluate the impact of veterans' programs dealing with education, employment, and health care. These data are needed to conduct policy analysis, program planning, and budgeting for federal veterans' programs and for reports to Congress on state projections of veterans' facilities and services.

ACS Questionnaire (since 2013):

Has this person ever served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, Reserves, or National Guard? 1 Mark (X) ONE box.
  • Never served in the military
  • Only on active duty for training in the Reserves or National Guard
  • Now on active duty
  • On active duty in the past, but not now
When did this person serve on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces? 2 Mark (X) a box for EACH period in which this person served, even if just for part of the period.
  • September 2001 or later
  • August 1990 to August 2001 (including Persian Gulf War)
  • May 1975 to July 1990
  • Vietnam era (August 1964 to April 1975)
  • February 1955 to July 1964
  • Korean War (July 1950 to January 1955)
  • January 1947 to June 1950
  • World War II (December 1941 to December 1946)
  • November 1941 or earlier


Social Services
At state and county levels, veteran status is used for budgeting and program planning for medical services and nursing home care for veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs needs data about veteran status in planning the locations and sizes of veterans' cemeteries.

For the Public Health Service Act, veteran status is used as one factor to determine the segments of the population who may not be receiving needed medical services.

Data about veteran status are used to allocate funds to states and local areas for employment and job training programs for veterans.

Statutory Requirements for Census Data
  • Veterans Benefits Program, 38 U.S.C. 317
  • Veterans Employment and Training Program, 38 U.S.C. 4103 et seq.
  • Veterans Needs, Reports to Congress on, 38 U.S.C. 542, 4107(c)
  • Veterans Outreach Program, Disabled, 38 U.S.C. 4103A(a)(1) and (b)(2)
  • Veteran Population, State Projections of, 38 U.S.C. 8131(l)
  • Veterans Programs, Evaluation of, 38 U.S.C. 527
  • Veterans, State Estimates of Nursing Home Care for, 38 U.S.C. 8134(a)(1)

Why do we ask questions about service-connected disability status and ratings (asked since 2008)?


Veterans Affairs (VA) service-connected disability rating was added to the American Community Survey (ACS) to enable the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to measure a veteran's service-connected disability compensation entitlement status. This information will improve the VA's ability to accurately anticipate the need for VA care and its associated cost.

The VA is required to provide an annual report to Congress that determines whether VA health care appropriations for the coming fiscal year are sufficient to cover expenditures associated with the expected demand for VA health care services. Adding the proposed service-connected disability status measure to the ACS will enable VA to make county-level estimates of veterans classified by income, service-connected status, and several other characteristics that are needed to classify enrollment priorities. This information will fundamentally improve VA's capability to describe the total veteran population in terms of age, priority, and market area and to more accurately estimate the demands for VA care.

ACS Questionnaire (since 2008):

Does this person have a VA service-connected disability rating?
  • Yes (such as 0%, 10%, 20%, ... , 100%)
  • No
What is this person's service-connected disability rating?
  • 0 percent
  • 10 or 20 percent
  • 30 or 40 percent
  • 50 or 60 percent
  • 70 percent or higher
  • Community Benefits


VA medical centers and their associated outpatient clinics would use these data to measure key determinants of the demand for VA care.

Data on service-connected disability ratings would allow VA medical centers (and their regional networks) to engage in meaningful local area planning that accounts for expectations of the future demand for VA care.

Government program officials, industry organization leaders, economic and social analysts, and business entrepreneurs routinely use the statistics from the Survey of Business Owners. Examples of data use include those by:

  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to assess business assistance needs and allocate available program resources.
  • Local government commissions on small and disadvantaged businesses to establish and evaluate contract procurement practices.
  • Federal, state, and local government agencies as a framework for planning, directing, and assessing programs that promote the activities of disadvantaged groups.
  • Consultants and researchers to analyze long-term economic and demographic shifts and differences in ownership and performance among geographic areas.
  • Individual business owners to analyze their operations in comparison to similar firms, compute their market share, and assess their growth and future prospects.


1 Mark (X) ONE box.
2 Mark (X) a box for EACH period in which this person served, even if just for part of the period.
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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Veterans |  Last Revised: 2013-05-21T17:14:37.913-04:00