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They Are Half the Size of the Living Vietnam Veteran Population

Kelly Ann Holder

The 3.3 million veterans who have served since September 11, 2001, now are roughly half the size of the largest living veteran population: Those who served in the Vietnam era.

As this year marks the 15th and 17th anniversaries of the onset of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Census Bureau highlights post-9/11 veterans. They are more diverse than their predecessors. About 17 percent are women, 15.3 percent are black, and 12.1 percent are Hispanic. Almost half (47.6 percent) are still under the age of 35.

They are an educated group. More than 46 percent have some college education and 32 percent have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. In 2016, about 612,000 post-9/11 veterans were in college.

Over a third of post-9/11 veterans used or were enrolled in VA health care in 2016. Under 6 percent were without health insurance of any kind. Post-9/11 veterans have the highest percentage of any wartime cohort reporting a service-connected disability (36.1 percent).

Three-quarters of post-9/11 veterans were employed in 2016. Common occupations for this group of veterans include managers, truck drivers, police officers, and security guards. About 7 percent of employed post-9/11 veterans work in health care-related occupations such as registered nurses, physicians, and home health aides.


For more information, see census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/. Learn more about data we collect on Veterans in our Topics area.

Kelly Ann Holder is a Special Assistant in the Census Bureau’s Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division.

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