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National Veteran Statistics

In 2012, 21.8 million men and women of the civilian population were veterans.

  • Male: 20.2 million
  • Female: 1.6 million

11.3 million veterans participated in the labor force

  • 10.2 million were males (51.5% of all male veterans)
  • 1.1 million were females (62% of all female veterans)



  • 7.6% of veterans have not completed a high school degree, compared to 14.9% of non-veterans.
  • 29.7% of veterans have a high school degree compared to 28.3% of non-veterans.
  • 36.3% of veterans have attended some college and 26.3% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. For non-veterans, those numbers are lower, at 28.1% and 28.8 percent respectively.
  • Despite their high levels of education, the unemployment rates for veterans (listed below) are still often higher than those for civilians.


  • Overall unemployment was 7% in 2012, compared with 7.8% U.S. unemployment rate.
  • For veterans between the ages of 18 and 24, unemployment averaged 30.2%,almost double the rate of 16.1% for non-veterans between 18 and 24, and over 3 times the national average of 8.3%.
  • For all other age brackets, veterans tend to have unemployment rates that are higher than the rates for non-veterans.


  • Approximately 7% of veterans lived below the poverty level in the past 12 months, compared to 14.6% for nonveterans.


  • As of 2011, nearly one in seven homeless adults are veterans.
  • In 2009, it was estimated that 106,558 veterans were homeless.
  • Of homeless veterans, about 80% are between the ages of 30 and 60.
  • 50% of homeless veterans have serious mental illness.
  • 70% have substance abuse problems.
  • 51% of homeless veterans have disabilities.
  • 1.5 million veterans are at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.

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