U.S. Veterans Demographics and Statistics

Veteran Demographics

18,496,937 veterans

lived in the United States in 2016.

—American Community Survey, 1-Year Estimate

The American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, publishes detailed estimates on the veteran population each year. ACS data typically only counts veterans no longer in active service—in other words, people who are currently civilians. 

Veterans make up a significant but declining percentage of the U.S. population, as veterans of older wars pass on. In 2011, there were nearly 1.9 million living veterans of World War II. By 2016, that number had dwindled to less than 700,000. 

Hover over a period of service to see the populations of  living veterans who served during that period. Periods between major conflicts have been excluded from this chart.

Which states have the highest percentage of veterans?

According to a CDC survey, Alaska had the highest percentage of veterans in 2016: 16.9 percent of the state's adult residents. New York had the lowest, at 6.4 percent. To see data from different years, use the time-slider beneath the map.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). 

How does median income compare for veterans and nonveterans?

On a national level, veterans' median income was nearly 40% higher than nonveterans' in 2016. 

How many veterans have service-connected disabilities?

The department of Veterans Affairs (VA) assigns ratings to disabilities that veterans received during their service, or for existing health issues that worsened because of their service. The ratings are assigned as a percentage scale, with higher percentages corresponding to more severe disabilities. 

The top chart shows the populations of veterans with, and without, service-connected disabilities. The bottom chart shows the former population broken down by the severity ratings of those disabilities.