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Published November 10 2012

Stats on veterans

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of 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.

Here are some statistics shared by the U.S. Census and the 2011 American Community Survey:

21.5 million

The number of military veterans in the United States in 2011.

1.6 million

The number of female veterans in 2011.

Veterans by race

There were 17.2 million white veterans and 2.3 million black veterans in 2011.

Additionally, 1.2 million veterans were Hispanic, 264,695 were Asian, 153,223 were American Indian or Alaska Native, and 27,469 were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

9.2 million

The number of veterans 65 and older in 2011.

1.8 million

Veterans who were younger than 35 in 2011

When they served

There were 7.5 million Vietnam-era veterans in 2011.

5.1 million served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present).

1.8 million in World War II (1941-1945).

2.4 million in the Korean War (1950-1953).

5.4 million in peacetime only.

Vets of multiple wars

There were 51,079 living veterans in 2011 who served during the Vietnam era and both Gulf War eras and no other period.

In 2011, there were 43,942 veterans who had served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam era.

Living veterans in 2011 who served during two wars and no other period:

E 876,663 served during both Gulf War eras.

E 205,205 served during both the Korean War and the Vietnam era.

E 129,972 served during both World War II and the Korean War.

92.3 percent

Percent of veterans 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher in 2011, compared with 86 percent of the population as a whole.


Annual median income of veterans, in 2011 inflation-adjusted dollars, compared with $25,811 for the population as a whole.

9.1 million

Number of veterans 18 to 64 in the labor force in 2011.

3.5 million

Number of veterans with a service-connected disability rating. Of this number, 810,245 have a rating of 70 percent or higher.

9 percent

Percentage of all U.S. nonfarm firms that are majority owned by veterans. Veteran-owned firms comprised an estimated

2.4 million of the 27.1 million nonfarm businesses nationwide in 2007.