Veterans By the Numbers

Some statistics about the state of veterans in America.

UNDER THE GUN

2.5 million service members have been deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and returned since 2001. Almost half have been deployed more than once.
Costs of War Project

Living veterans by the numbers:
World War II: 1,711,000
Korean War: 2,275
Vietnam War: 7,391,000
Desert Shield/Desert Storm: 2,244,583
Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom: 2,333,972 military service personnel have been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, or both as of August 2011. Of that total, 1,353,627 had left the military by November 2011.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs & ABC World News

73.4 percent of all U.S. veterans have a VA service-connected disability rating.
PTSD occurs in about 11 to 20 percent of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. 
Coming Back with Wes Moore

HEAVY HOUSING COSTS

Number of veteran households who suffered from severe housing cost burden in 2011, spending more than 50 percent of their income on housing: 1.5 million
National Low Income Housing Coalition,
Housing Instability Among Our Nation’s Veterans, Nov. 2013

Percent of severely housing cost burdened veteran households with a service-related disability rating of 70 percent or higher: 26
National Low Income Housing Coalition,
Housing Instability Among Our Nation’s Veterans, Nov. 2013

Of veteran households with incomes between 50 and 80 percent of the area median:

  • Percent of black, non-Hispanic households who were housing cost burdened: 50
  • Percent of white, non-Hispanic households who were housing cost burdened: 36
  • Percent of Hispanic households who were housing cost burdened: 48 

National Low Income Housing Coalition,
Housing Instability Among Our Nation’s Veterans, Nov. 2013

Percent of pre-9/11 extremely low-income veterans (under 30 percent of area median income) who are severely cost burdened: 70
Percent of post-9/11 extremely low-income veterans who are severely cost burdened: 87
National Low Income Housing Coalition,
Housing Instability Among Our Nation’s Veterans, Nov. 2013

Veterans working in some of the main jobs available through the Department of Labor’s specialized training programs offered in partnership with the military do not earn enough to afford to buy a median-priced home or rent a home at the fair market rent in many markets. In more expensive metro areas, even electricians, carpenters, and firefighters earn too little to afford a median-priced or FMR home.
—Center For Housing Policy, Paycheck to Paycheck, 2012

THE ROAD HOME

Percent of the U.S. population who were veterans in 2013: 9
Percent of the U.S. homeless population who were veterans in 2013: 12
Percent of the Los Angeles homeless population who were veterans in 2011: 18
Percent of the U.S. veteran population that is African American or Hispanic: 13.8
Percent of homeless U.S. veterans who are African American or Hispanic: 40
—National Low Income Housing Coalition,
Housing Challenges of America’s Veterans, 2014
and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority
See more here

Light at the end of the tunnel: Homelessness among veterans has declined each year since 2010. Between 2010 and 2014, veteran homelessness declined by 33 percent.
—U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,
2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress

DANGER AND HOPE ON THE HOME FRONT

Number of banks named in a 2011 lawsuit claiming they charged hidden, illegal fees to veterans trying to refinance their mortgages: 13
—Huffington Post

Percent foreclosure filings increased from April 2007 to January 2008, nationally: 59
Percent they increased in 10 towns and cities within 10 miles of large military facilities: 217
—Bloomberg via RealtyTrac

Percent foreclosure filings increased nationally from 2008 to 2010: 23
Percent foreclosure filings increased in 163 zip codes located near military bases from 2008 to 2010: 32
—Bloomberg via RealtyTrac

The Military Lending Act of October 2007 capped payday loans, car title loans, and refund anticipation loans at 36 percent APR, but lenders found loopholes by offering loans with terms that were a day longer or a dollar more than loans covered by the rules and continue to charge triple-digit interest rates.
—Center for Responsible Lending

The number of new VA loans fell every year between 2004 and 2007. In 2006, the number of VA loans was barely a third of the 2004 level.
—Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Assoc.

A total of 630,000 VA loans were granted in 2013, up 17 percent from 2012.
—Department of Veterans Affairs

WE SERVE TOO

From 1973 to 2011, the number of women serving on active duty among the enlisted ranks rose from 2 percent to 14 percent.
The share among commissioned officers quadrupled, from 4 percent to 16 percent.
—”Women in the U.S. Military: Growing Share, Distinctive Profile,” Pew Research Center, Dec. 22, 2011

As of January 2013, more than 150 women had been killed and more than 800 wounded in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
—NPR.org, The Two-Way

The current active-duty female force is more racially diverse than the male force.

  • Percent of active-duty women who are black: 31
  • Percent of active-duty men who are black: 16
  • Percent of active-duty women who are white: 53
  • Percent of active-duty men who are white: 71

—”Women in the U.S. Military: Growing Share, Distinctive Profile,” Pew Research Center, Dec. 22, 2011

1994: The Department of Defense officially banned women from serving in combat.
January 24, 2013: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta removed the military’s official ban on women serving in combat, though it remains U.S. policy to exclude women from ground combat.
—Jurist

Of veteran family households with incomes between 30 and 50 percent of the area median income:
Percent of married couples who were cost burdened: 59
Percent of single women with children who were cost burdened: 82
—National Low Income Housing Coalition, Housing Instability Among Our Nation’s Veterans, Nov. 2013

Between 2009 and 2011, there was a 51 percent increase in the number of homeless women veterans in Los Angeles.
—Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority

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