28 June 2013


Washington, DC

Bill Moyers recently posted on his Moyers & Company website an infographic developed by the U.S. Census Bureau, which breaks down the makeup and distribution of our country's veterans.  Here is the visual, and below are the findings ~

  • There are 21.8 million veterans in the United States.  Of these, 20.2 million are male, and 1.6 million are female.
  • By race and ethnicity, 17.5 million are white, 2.4 million are black, 1.2 million are Latino, 265,000 are Asian, 157,000 are Native American, and 28,000 are Pacific Islander.
  • States having a high proportion of veterans ~ California with 2 million, and Texas and Florida with 1.6 million each.
  • Education ~ 92% of veterans 25 and older have at least a high school diploma.  26% of veterans 25 and older have at least a university bachelor's degree.
  • Veterans of two wars ~ 837,000 served during Gulf War I & II.  211,000 served during both Korea and Vietnam.  147,000 served during both World War II and Korea.
  • Veterans of three wars ~ 49,500 served during Vietnam and Gulf War I & II.  54,000 served during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
  • Economy ~ A veteran is more than twice as likely as a non-veteran to hold a job in public administration.  Veterans own 9% of all U.S. businesses, generating $1.2 trillion in receipts and employing 5.8 million people.
  • Income ~ Veterans' median annual income is about $10,000 higher than the average American.
I was a little surprised at the small number of veterans relative to the nation's 300 billion+ population.  Then I reminded myself that the World War II and Korean War generations are aging and passing from our midst rapidly.  Even Vietnam vets (including me) are near or past retirement age.  That leaves veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, wars which have lasted a long time, but didn't employ as many active-duty troops at any one time.

In any event, as Independence Day approaches, I hope that you will thank any veterans you know or meet for their service ~ as we should also do for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  In spite of the patina of glamour, duty, honor, and adventure painted by Hollywood, it is a grisly, terrifying, and often fatal experience.  Of those who survive, too many suffer from PTSD, and of those, too many resort to suicide.  A willing and grateful listener can make a difference.

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