Veterans Day 2017 by the Numbers

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. The ceremony honors and thanks all who served in the U.S. armed forces.

The following facts are made possible by the invaluable responses to the U.S. Census Bureau’s surveys. The Census Bureau appreciates the public’s cooperation as they measure America’s people, places and economy.

18.5 million
The number of military veterans in the United States in 2016.

1.6 million
The number of female veterans in the United States in 2016.

11.6%
The percentage of veterans in 2016 who were black. Additionally, 78.0 percent were non-Hispanic white, 1.6 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.

6.5%
The percentage of veterans in 2016 who were Hispanic.

9.2 million
The number of veterans age 65 and older in 2016. At the other end of the age spectrum, 1.6 million were younger than age 35.

6.7 million
The number of Vietnam Era veterans in 2016. Moreover, there were 7.1 million who served during the Gulf War (representing service from August 1990 to present); 768,263 who served in World War II; 1.6 million who served in the Korean War; and 2.4 million who served in peacetime only.

The number of living veterans in 2016 who served during three wartime periods:

  • 65,562 served during the Vietnam Era and both periods of the Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001 and September 2001 or later). 25,703 served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam Era.
    The number of living veterans in 2016 who served during two wartime periods:
  • 1,150,328 served during both periods of the Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001 and September 2001 or later).
  • 285,649 served during the Gulf War (August 1990 to August 2001) and the Vietnam Era.
    140,101 served during the Korean War and the Vietnam Era.
    56,105 served during World War II and the Korean War.

Three
The number of states with 1.0 million or more veterans in 2016. These states were California (1.6 million), Texas (1.5 million) and Florida (1.4 million).

28.3%
The percentage of veterans 25 years and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2016. In comparison, 31.5 percent of non-veterans had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

$40,076
The annual median income of male veterans in 2016, compared with $35,365 for male non-veterans.

$34,178
The annual median income of female veterans in 2016, compared with $23,445 for female non-veterans.

7.0 million
The number of veterans 18 to 64 years old in the labor force in 2016. Of those veterans, 6.7 million were employed.

4.0 million
The number of veterans with a service-connected disability rating in 2016. Of this number, 1.3 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.

14.4 million
The number of veterans who voted in the 2016 presidential election. In that election, 69.6 percent of veterans cast a ballot, compared with 60.6 percent of non-veterans. These rates reflect the citizen voting-age population.

398,453
The number of all U.S. employer firms that are majority owned by veterans. Veteran-owned firms comprised 7.2 percent of the nation’s 5.5 million employer businesses.

Sources: 2016 American Community Survey, US Census, 2015 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs