JAN. 25, 2017 — About 5 million (24.1 percent) U.S. veterans 18 years and older lived in areas designated as rural between 2011 and 2015, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The report found that when considering demographic and economic characteristics, rural veterans were similar to urban veterans except for their median household income and employment rates.
Rural veterans had median household incomes more similar to those of rural nonveterans than urban veterans ($53,554 compared with $52,161 and $59,674, respectively). The poverty rate for all rural veterans was 6.9 percent. This rate increased by level of rurality, to a high of 8.6 percent for veterans in completely rural counties. Level of rurality is based on the percentage of the county population living in rural areas.
Working-age rural veterans (18 to 64 years old) had an employment rate of 66.0 percent, lower than rural nonveterans and urban veterans (67.7 percent and 70.7 percent, respectively). The employment rate of rural veterans decreased as the level of rurality increased. Employed rural veterans, however, were more likely to work full time and year-round than rural nonveterans (81.6 percent compared with 71.5 percent).
“In general, rural veterans were different from rural nonveterans in the ways veterans are typically different from nonveterans, and rural veterans were different from urban veterans in the ways all rural residents are different from their urban counterparts,” Kelly Holder, demographer, said. “The two exceptions were employment rates and median household income where rural veterans were more like their rural neighbors.”
These findings are from the Census Bureau’s Veterans in Rural America report that uses American Community Survey 5-year statistics. The Census Bureau released these statistics on Dec. 8, which are available for all geographic areas regardless of population size, down to the block-group level.
The American Community Survey provides a wide range of important statistics about all communities in the United States. The American Community Survey gives communities the current information they need to plan investments and services. Retailers, homebuilders, fire departments, and town and city planners are among the many private- and public-sector decision makers who count on these annual results. For some examples, visit the Stats in Action page.