Veterans Day 2021, by the numbers | The Numbers Racket

Between 2015 and 2019, the percentage of veterans ages 75 and older was 23.5 percent. At the other end of the age spectrum, 8.8 percent were younger than age 35

By: - November 11, 2021 1:35 pm

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Veterans Day, observed on Nov. 11, has its origins in World War I, but the holiday – originally dubbed Armistice Day to commemorate the end of the first World War – has expanded to honor veterans of all wars. 

Data from the 2019 American Community Survey, conducted by the United States Census Bureau tells us that there were 18.2 million military veterans in the United States between 2015-2019. But what else does the data show?

Let’s take a look for this special edition of The Numbers Racket: 

Time of Service

Gulf War (September 2001 or later) … 3,520,756 estimated veterans

Gulf War (August 1990 – August 2001) … 3,777,277 estimated veterans 

Vietnam War … 6,510,200 estimated veterans 

Korean War … 1,470,987 estimated veterans

World War II Veterans … 638,879 estimated veterans

Who They Are

According to the 2019 American Community Survey, more than 16.6 million veterans identified as male, compared with 1.6 million veterans who identified as female.

The majority of veterans (more than 4.8 million) were in the 65 to 74 age group, followed by nearly 4.3 million in the 35 to 54 age range. Not far behind with 4,275,482 million veterans was the 75 or older age group. 

Between 2015 and 2019, the percentage of veterans ages 75 and older was 23.5 percent. At the other end of the age spectrum, 8.8 percent were younger than age 35, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Veterans of the United States come from all different backgrounds, ACS data found. 

More than 14.9 million veterans identified as white alone

More than 2.1 million veterans identified as Black alone

301,007 veterans identified as Asian alone. 

34,058 veterans identified as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

More than 1.2 million veterans identified as Hispanic or Latino


5.9% … the percentage of veterans with less than a high school diploma.

28% … the percentage of veterans with a high school diploma or equivalent. 

37.3% … the percentage of veterans with some college or associate degree.

28.8% … the percentage of veterans with a bachelor’s degree or higher. 

Pennsylvania’s Veterans

As of 2015, the most recent data available, Pennsylvania had a veteran population of more than 943,000 individuals, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Women made up 5.6 percent of the commonwealth’s veteran population. 

The majority (more than 30 percent) of those veterans served during the Vietnam era. Nearly 50 percent of Pennsylvania veterans were 65 or older, as of the survey. 

At the time, Pennsylvania recorded 98,639 veteran-owned businesses.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.