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Blog Category: C-SPAN

Memorial Day: A Look at Veterans in America Today

NPS/Andersonville National Historic Site. Flags decorate the graves in Section E of the Andersonville National Cemetery

Guest blog post by Melissa Chiu, Chief of the Industry and Occupation Statistics Branch, U.S. Census Bureau

As we honor those soldiers who have given their lives to their country this Memorial Day, we can also take the opportunity to better understand America’s veterans. The American Community Survey provides a profile of our 21.8 million veterans.

So, who are our veterans in America? U.S. veterans are made up of every gender, race, ethnicity and almost every age group. There were more women veterans in 2010 than twenty years ago; this group has grown by 3 percentage points since 1980 to 1.6 million in 2010.  It is important to recognize that women constitute 19 percent of veterans in the age group 18 to 34.  There were 9 million veterans 65 and older in 2010 and, at the other end of the age spectrum, 1.7 million were younger than 35.

We find that veterans age 18 to 34 are more racially and ethnically diverse than older veterans. Non-Hispanic whites account for 17.5 million veterans. In addition there were 2.4 million black veterans, 1.2 million Hispanics, 265,000 Asians, 157,000 American Indians or Alaska Natives and 28,000 Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders in 2010.