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Facts for Features
CB08-FF.19
Oct. 16, 2008

Veterans Day 2008: Nov. 11

Veterans Day originated as "Armistice Day" on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of 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 has evolved into also honoring living military veterans with parades and speeches across the nation. A national ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

23.6 million

The number of military veterans in the United States in 2007.
Source: Table 502, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009

Female Veterans

1.8 million

The number of female veterans in 2007.
Source: Source: Table 502, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009

16%

Percentage of Gulf War veterans in 2007 who were women.
Source: Table 503, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009

Race and Hispanic Origin

2.4 million

The number of black veterans in 2007. Additionally, 1.1 million veterans were Hispanic; 278,000 were Asian; 165,000 were American Indian or Alaska Native; 27,000 were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 18.7 million were non-Hispanic white. (The numbers for blacks, Asians, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, and non-Hispanic whites cover only those reporting a single race.)
Source: 2007 American Community Survey

When They Served

9.3 million

The number of veterans 65 and older in 2007. At the other end of the age spectrum, 1.9 million were younger than 35.
Source: Table 503, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009

7.9 million

Number of Vietnam-era veterans in 2007. Thirty-three percent of all living veterans served during this time (1964-1975). In addition, 5 million served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present); 2.9 million in World War II (1941-1945); 3 million in the Korean War (1950-1953); and 6.1 million in peacetime.
Source: Table 503, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009

358,000

In 2007, number of living veterans who served during both the Vietnam and Gulf War eras.

Other living veterans in 2007 who served during two or more wars:

  • 315,000 served during both the Korean and Vietnam wars.
  • 69,000 served during three periods: World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
  • 263,000 served during World War II and the Korean War.

Source: 2007 American Community Survey

Where They Live

5

Number of states with 1 million or more veterans in 2007. These states are California (2.1 million), Florida (1.7 million), Texas (1.7 million), New York (1.1 million) and Pennsylvania (1.1 million).
Source: Table 502, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009

Education

25%

Percent of veterans 25 and older with at least a bachelor's degree in 2007.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey

90%

Percent of veterans 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher in 2007.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey

Income and Poverty

$36,053

Annual median income of veterans, in 2007 inflation-adjusted dollars.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey

5.7%

Percentage of veterans living in poverty, as of 2007. The corresponding rate for nonveterans was 12 percent.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey

On the Job

10.7 million

Number of veterans 18 to 64 in the labor force in 2007.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey

$32,217

Earnings for women veterans, higher than the $27,272 for women civilians with no military experience.
Source: Exploring the Veteran-Nonveteran Earning Differential in the 2005 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/women/cb08-cn61.html>

$42,128

Earnings for male veterans, higher than the $39,880 for nonveterans.
Source: 2006 Exploring the Veteran-Nonveteran Earning Differential in the 2005 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/women/cb08-cn61.html>

Women veterans were more likely to work 35 or more hours per week (84.3 percent vs. 77.6 percent), to work at least 50 weeks per year (73.1 percent vs. 71.6 percent) and to work in public administration (16 percent vs. 4.8 percent) than nonveterans.
Source: Exploring the Veteran-Nonveteran Earning Differential in the 2005 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/women/cb08-cn61.html>

Disabilities

6 million

Number of veterans with a disability.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey

Voting

17.4 million

Number of veterans who voted in the 2004 presidential election. Seventy-four percent of veterans cast a ballot, compared with 63 percent of nonveterans.
Source: Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2004 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/voting/2006-03-15_voting_and_registration.html>

14 million

Number of veterans who voted in the 2006 congressional election. Sixty-one percent of veterans cast a ballot, compared with 46 percent of nonveterans.
Source: Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2004 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/voting/cb08-102.html>

Business Owners

14.5%

Percentage of owners of firms responding to the 2002 Survey of Business Owners who were veterans. Veteran business owners comprised an estimated 3 million of the 20.5 million owners represented by survey respondents.
Source: Characteristics of Veteran-Owned Businesses: 2002 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/business_ownership/cb07-98.html>

68%

Percentage of veteran owners of respondent firms who were 55 and older. This compares with 31 percent of all owners of respondent firms. Similarly, in 2002, 55 percent of veteran-owned respondent firms with employees reported that their businesses were originally established, purchased or acquired before 1990, compared with 36 percent of all employer respondent firms.
Source: Characteristics Veteran-Owned Businesses: 2002 and Characteristics of Veteran Business Owners: 2002 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/business_ownership/cb07-98.html>

7%

Percentage of veteran business owners of respondent firms who were disabled as the result of injury incurred or aggravated during active military service.
Source: Characteristics Veteran-Owned Businesses: 2002 and Characteristics of Veteran Business Owners: 2002 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/business_ownership/cb07-98.html>

Benefits

2.7 million

Number of veterans who received compensation for service-connected disabilities as of 2006. Their compensation totaled $28.2 billion.
Source: Tables 505 and 506, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009

$72.8 billion

Total amount of federal government spending for veterans benefits programs in fiscal year 2006. Of this total, $34.6 billion went to compensation and pensions, $33.7 billion for medical programs and the remainder to other programs, such as vocational rehabilitation and education.
Source: Table 505, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009

Following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau's Facts for Features series:

  • 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)
  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
  • Older Americans Month (May)
  • Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
  • 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; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: <PIO@census.gov>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: February 10, 2014