U.S. Veterans: By the Numbers
As the Country Celebrates Veterans Day, Here's a Look at Those Who've Served
America has been at war with Iraq and Afghanistan for more than a decade, and during that time, more than 2 million Americans have been deployed overseas.
Today, on 11-11-11, as the country celebrates Veteran's Day, the millions Americans who have not worn the country's uniform will take a moment to honor and remember those who have.
Here's a look at America's veterans, by the numbers.
Those Who Have Served
In the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, 2,333,972 American military personnel had been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan or both, as of Aug. 30,2011. Of that total, 1,353, 627 have since left the military and 711,986 have used VA health care between fiscal year 2002 and the third-quarter fiscal year 2011.
The VA's Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a non-profit whose mission is to improve the lives of veterans, points out that 38 per 100,000 of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans using VA health care committed suicide during latest data available. There is very little information about veterans not using VA health care. Compare that to 11.5 deaths per 100,000 for the general public.
The veteran-centered non-profit estmates that 6,000 veterans of all generations committed suicide in 2009.
According to the Defense Manpower Data Center, nearly half, or 977,542, of those who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan have been deployed more than once. There are 1,286 service members who are now amputees as a result of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Those in Uniform Right Now
There are currently 2,317,761 men and women in uniform. Of this total number, 1,348,405 have been deployed since the Sept. 11 attacks. About 58.2 percent of those currently in uniform have served a deployment since 9/11.
According to the 2010 Census, the population of the United States is 308,745,538. Including active duty, national guard and reserves, the population of Americans in uniform is 2,317,761, meaning that less than1 percent, .75 percent to be exact, of the country's population is a member of the military.
While only a fraction of a percent of the country's population is currently serving, 7 percent of the population is veterans. There are 22,658,000 veterans in america today, just 8 percent of which are female.
As of September 30, 2011, there are about 1,981,000 living veterans of World War II, a war that more than 4 million Americans were deployed to fight. About 800 of those veterans die every day.
While members of the military make up a tiny fraction of the country's population, the unemployment rate for America's veterans far exceeds the national average. About 12.1 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are unemployed, compared with 9.1 percent of Americans nationwide, according to the Labor Department
And that number is on the rise. In 2007, 6.1 percent of current-war veterans were unemployed. In 2009, the unemployment rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars had risen to 10.2 percent and in 2010 it stood at 11.5 percent. It is now 3 percentage points higher than the national average.
According to a Labor Department report released last week, Iraq and Afghanistan vets have higher unemployment rates than living veterans from previous wars because of their young age. Regardless of veteran status, young people have higher unemployment rates than older people.
The unemployment rate in 2010 for veterans between the ages of 18-24 was 20.9 percent, up from a prerecession rate of 11.7 percent in 2007.
As with the general population, young veterans experienced higher rates of unemployment than veterans between the ages of 25 and 34, about 12.6 percent of which are unemployed.
Young male veterans had an unemployment rate of 21.9 percent, not statistically different from the jobless rate of young female veterans (15.3 percent). However, the median duration of unemployment for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is shorter -- 17.8 weeks -- than it is for WWII, Korean War and Vietnam-era veterans -- 31 weeks. This is due in part to the fact that older workers as a group experience longer spells of unemployment.
In 2010, more than one-third of recent veterans had been unemployed 27 weeks or longer, while about half of unemployed veterans from other periods had been unemployed that long.
Unemployment rates are lower for people who have a bachelor's degree or higher. In 2010, both Persian Gulf War and Iraq/Afghanistan vets 25 years old and older who had a bachelor's degree had an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, much lower than for those with some college or an associate degree -- 10 percent -- or high school graduates --11.5 percent.