There are approximately 16.5 million veterans living in the United States, which is approximately 6.4% of the country’s adult population. 2021 census data, This represents a decrease of about half a percentage point. 2019 forecastThe elderly population has continued to decline during the 21st century.
The elderly population is becoming more diverse
The veteran demographic is shifting, but the population remains overwhelmingly male and white.
Of the 16.5 million veterans nationwide, just 10%, or about 1.65 million, are women, although this represents a 37% increase from just 10 years ago. In particular, at the beginning of 2015, the military ban lifted directly on women in ground combat roles.
In 2021, about 75% of veterans were white, down from 84% the year before. Black veterans account for approximately 12% of the population, while approximately 7% of veterans identify with more than one race, and 8% of veterans are ethnically Hispanic. Nearly half of all veterans are 65 or older.
Nearly 5 million veterans, more than 30% of the full veteran population, are currently living with a disability. This represents an increase of 15% over the last 10 years, and is double the disability rate of the general adult population.
Mental health remains an issue for many veterans
The mental health of ex-servicemen remains a matter of serious concern. While the suicide rate among veterans has fallen over the past two reported years (2019-20), it remains 57% higher than among non-veteran adults. US Department of Veterans Affairs,
Whereas other independents studies suggest that the scale of the data issue may be underestimated. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, suicide is the second leading cause of death for veterans under the age of 45.
Alaska has the highest share of veterans
Veterans make up about 1 in 15 Americans overall. But some states have a much higher proportion of their population than others. Alaska has the highest, with 11% of Alaskans age 18 and older identifying as veterans. Virginia (9.7%), Montana (9.4%), Wyoming (9.2%) and Maine (8.8%) rounded out the top five.
Meanwhile, New York (3.9%), New Jersey (3.9%), Massachusetts (4.2%), California (4.4%) and Utah (4.8%) have the smallest share of veterans relative to their population.
In terms of overall count, Texas, Florida, and California have the largest veteran populations, with more than one million each. Pennsylvania and Virginia also have high numbers of veterans, with 641,525 and 641,144, respectively.