Facts & Figures About Veterans and Soldiers

  • Experts estimate that the total monetary cost for the U.S. — including long-term veterans care — of the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan may eventually total as much as $4 trillion.
  • 73.4 percent of all U.S. veterans have a VA service-connected disability rating.
  • Almost 5 percent of veterans today were retired from the military before the age of 35. 
  • Almost 60 percent of veterans who were retired from the military in 2012 due to a service-connected disability were under the age of 35.  
  • 33 = the average age of an enlisted soldier who was retired from the military due to injury or disability in 2012.
  • Every 65 minutes, a military veteran commits suicide. 
  • 22 military veterans commit suicide every day.
  • 31 percent of these suicides were veterans aged 49 and younger.
  • Every month nearly 1,000 veterans attempt to take their own lives. That’s more than one attempt every half hour. 
  • Suicides among active duty personnel almost equal one per day, or 349 per year. 
  • The Veterans Crisis Line has answered more than 890,000 calls and made more than 30,000 life-saving rescues since its launch in 2007. 
  • The number of active duty suicides in 2012 surpassed not only the number of American troops killed in Afghanistan but also the number who died in transportation accidents in 2012. 
  • More United States troops have died from suicide than have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001. 
  • 8.31 percent of all active duty suicides in 2011 were officers. 
  • About 7-8% of the population will have PTSD at some point in their lives. 
  • In 2010, the Army gave a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder to 10,756 troops, up from 4,967 in 2005. 
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs spent more than $5 billion on mental-health services in 2011. 
  • PTSD occurs in about 11-20% of Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom), or in 11-20 Veterans out of 100. 
  • Although studies vary widely in terms of methods used, estimates of depression in troops returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars range from 3% to 25%. 
  • Nearly 89,000 service members who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2005 have received a PTSD diagnosis, compared to about 23,000 individuals who have never deployed experiencing PTSD.
  • Among service members deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, 103,792 were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) over the period 2002 to December 2012. 
  • According to the Department of Defense, there has been an average of almost 21,000 service members diagnosed with traumatic brain injury every year since 2000. 
  • From 2002 to December 2012, 253,330 service members were diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) of some kind. 
  • As a result of battle injuries in the Iraq War, 991 service members received wounds that required amputations; 797 lost major limbs, such as a leg.  
  • In Afghanistan, 724 service members have had to undergo amputations, with 696 losing a major limb.  
  • The unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is 10% -- this is higher than the national rate of 7.3%. 
  • 76.3% of veterans with a VA service-connected disability rating believe that that their disability is currently preventing them from getting or holding a job.  
  • As of October 2013, there are 111,512 military contractors working for the Department of Defense in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • The Labor Department projects that 1.5 million service members will be making the leap from active duty to a civilian job, over the next five years. 
  • Nine out of the 10 top employers of veterans are defense contractors.   [This study looked only at employers that offer positions where military experience or training is highly relevant in day to day work.
  • Up to 45 percent of burn victims develop post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Despite the severity of combat burns, mortality at present is low: In World War II, 30 percent of the Americans injured in combat died. In Vietnam, the proportion dropped to 24 percent. In the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, about 10 percent of those injured have died. 
  • In the war in Afghanistan, fewer than 7.9 percent of the Americans wounded in 2010 died, down from more than 11 percent the previous year and 14.3 percent in 2008.
  • More veterans than ever are making use of the Post-9/11 GI Bill; the numbers of veterans using education benefits increased by 67% from 2009 to 2012. 
  • According to data compiled by the American Legion, the number of veterans serving in Congress is at its lowest point in 40 years.  
  • Combating suicide is a top issue for the IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) in 2014. Founder Paul Rieckoff says the nation must do more to combat post-9/11 veteran suicide. 
  • The suicide rate for young male veterans increased significantly in three years; the rate is up by 44 percent. 
  • 675,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been granted disability. 
  • More than 2 million American children have coped with a parent going to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
  • As many as one half million of those children may have become clinically depressed. 
  • The VA only began tracking war veteran suicides in 2008 even though rates now appear significantly higher than among comparable civilians.
  • Unemployment rates have been two percentage points higher among war veterans than civilians. 
  • The military has increasingly off-loaded the burden of care for service members’ health onto their families, and mainly onto women. 
  • The Army’s use of the determination that a soldier has a “pre-existing condition” has saved the Army over $12.5 billion.
  • Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are 75 percent more likely to die in car crashes than comparable civilians. 
  • Veterans of the Iraq & Afghanistan era have support and help that previous generations of veterans never did, including “universal eligibility for VA healthcare, comprehensive Veteran Resource Centers and initiatives like the Yellow Ribbon Program to assist veterans with educational and vocational goals.” These veterans are “faring well in the current labor market, largely because of the support that these programs provide for reintegration.” 
  • Veterans who are able to find full-time, year round employment have higher median earnings than their non-Veteran counterparts. 
  • Overall, veterans are better at staying on the right side of the law than non-veterans – especially veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
  • Today’s military consists of an all-volunteer force. The U.S. military draft ended over 40 years ago in 1973.
  • 26 of our Presidents came to office as Veterans, including William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and most recently, George W. Bush. 
  • Only one President – James Buchanan – served as an enlisted man and did not go on to become an officer. 
  • It was during the D-Day invasions of Normandy in June 1944 that the Army Rangers gained their motto, “Rangers, lead the way!” 
  • The current colors of the Army dress uniform were determined by George Washington in 1779: “blue coats with differing facings for the various state troops, artillery, artillery artificers and light dragoons.” 
  • In the last decade, U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers have deployed to 135 of the 195 recognized countries in the world. 
  • What is the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day? “Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served - not only those who died - have sacrificed and done their duty.” 
  • Why are red poppies worn on Memorial Day? People wear poppies in honor of America's war dead; the practice takes its origin from the poem “In Flanders Fields,” written in 1915 by John McCrae, a colonel and surgeon in Canada's First Brigade Artillery. 
  • The poppy was adopted as the official memorial flower of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) in 1922. 
  • California is home to more veterans than any other state. 
  • Texas and Florida have the second largest populations of veterans, with 1.6 million veterans each.
  • “Iraq and Afghanistan were the first protracted wars that the U.S. fought with an all-volunteer military. Troops faced multiple deployments. Many returned with severe injuries that would have been fatal in earlier eras.” 
  • The U.S. Postal Service is the largest single employer of veterans.
  • There are 21.8 million veterans in the United States.
  • Of these veterans, 20.2 million are men and 1.6 million are women.
  • Cities with a high percentage of veterans include: Killeen, Texas; Clarksville, Tennessee; Jacksonville, North Carolina; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Hampton, Virginia. 
  • 92 percent of veterans 25 and older have at least a high school diploma (compared with 86 percent of the total population).
  • 26 percent of veterans 25 and older have at least a bachelor’s degree (compared with 28 percent of the total population). 
  • Of the 21.8 million veterans in the U.S., more than 1.3 million served in multiple wars. 
  • A veteran is more than twice as likely as a non-veteran to hold a job in a public administration industry. 
  • Veterans own 9 percent of all U.S. businesses.
  • 5.8 million people are employed by veteran-owned businesses. 
  • The word “veteran” comes from the Latin word “veteranus,” meaning “old” or “of long experience” 
  • “Over one-half (51%) of spouses who have recently experienced deployment were separated for 12 or more months, with the majority of Soldiers being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan”
  • Active duty military personnel move on average once every two to three years, meaning military families move 2.4 times as often as civilian families.
  • “Private contractors and workers in conflict zones have reported higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in the last two years than military personnel,” according to a new report by the RAND Corporation. 
  • Famous veterans: Elvis Presley was drafted in 1957, and entered the U.S. Army as an enlisted GI in 1958.
  • Famous veterans: Before he became the voice of Darth Vader, actor James Earl Jones had a career in the military. He attended Ranger School, and became a first lieutenant before he left the service.
  • Military spouses are 10 times more likely than civilian spouses to move across state lines in any given year.
  • Military spouses have a higher-than-average unemployment rate, compared to civilian spouses (almost 10 percent, compared to five percent). 
  • More than 200,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are considered unemployed. 
  • Unemployment rates remain very high for National Guard members and military reservists. “Some employers are reluctant to hire them because, unlike other veterans joining the civilian workforce, they can be called up again.” 
  • “A 2011 survey of 585 National Guard veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan found that only a third had obtained full-time employment 45 to 60 days after returning to civilian life.” 
  • “According to a 2009 study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, more than 40% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who underwent Veterans Affairs behavioral health evaluations indicated that they felt like a “guest in their household,” and more than 50% reported “shouting, pushing or shoving” incidents with a partner.” 
  • MBTI – or mild traumatic brain injury – is often described as the “signature injury” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
  • “Semper Fidelis” – Latin for “always faithful” – became the Marine Corps motto in 1883.
  • “The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy, and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration.” 
  • The Purple Heart medal depicts a profile of General George Washington.

Facts provided by Powderhouse Productions' research team. 

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