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Veterans Day 2016: Nov. 11

Press Release Number CB16-FF.21

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary marking 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 military veterans with parades and speeches across the nation and a remembrance ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.


18.8 million

The number of military veterans in the United States in 2015.

1.6 million

The number of female veterans in the United States in 2015.


The percentage of veterans in 2015 who were black. Additionally, 78.3 percent were non-Hispanic white, 1.5 percent were Asian, 0.7 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.2 percent were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and 1.3 percent were Some Other Race. (The numbers for blacks, non-Hispanic whites, Asians, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, and Some Other Race cover only those reporting a single race.)


The percentage of veterans in 2015 who were Hispanic.

9.3 million

The number of veterans age 65 and older in 2015. At the other end of the age spectrum, 1.6 million were younger than age 35.

When They Served

6.8 million

The number of Vietnam Era veterans in 2015. Moreover, there were 5.6 million who served during the Gulf War (representing service from August 1990 to present); 930,000 who served in World War II; 1.8 million who served in the Korean War; and 4.3 million who served in peacetime only.

The number of living veterans in 2015 who served during three wartime periods:

  • 61,997 served during the Vietnam Era and both periods of the Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001 and September 2001 or later).
  • 29,331 served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam Era.

The number of living veterans in 2015 who served during two wartime periods:

  • 1,085,142 served during both periods of the Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001 and September 2001 or later)
  • 288,341 served during the Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001) and the Vietnam Era.
  • 152,416 served during the Korean War and the Vietnam Era.
  • 65,704 served during World War II and the Korean War.

Where They Live


The number of states with 1.0 million or more veterans in 2015. These states were California (1.6 million), Texas (1.5 million) and Florida (1.5 million).



The percentage of veterans 25 years and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2015. In comparison, 30.8 percent of nonveterans had a bachelor’s degree or higher.



The annual median income of male veterans in 2015, compared with $34,168 for male nonveterans.


The annual median income of female veterans in 2015, compared with $22,505 for female nonveterans.

7.2 million

The number of veterans 18 to 64 years old in the labor force in 2015. Of those veterans, 6.8 million were employed.

Service-Connected Disabilities

3.9 million

The number of veterans with a service-connected disability rating in 2015. Of this number, 1.2 million had a rating of 70.0 percent or higher. A “service-connected” disability is one that was a result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. Severity of one’s disability is scaled from 0.0 to 100.0 percent, and eligibility for compensation depends on one’s rating.


11.5 million

The number of veterans who voted in the 2014 congressional election. In that election, 54.0 percent of veterans cast a ballot, compared with 41.0 percent of nonveterans. These rates reflect the citizen population.

Business Owners


The number of all U.S. employer firms that are majority owned by veterans. Veteran-owned firms comprised 7.5 percent of the nation's 5.4 million employer businesses.

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

Black (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)
Earth Day (April 22)
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
Older Americans Month (May)
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; or e-mail: pio@census.gov.

Page Last Revised - December 16, 2021
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