NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Veterans Fare Well

June 2, 2003

Veterans of the armed services, on average, are faring well, according to a recent study by the Census Bureau. The report shows that the majority of veterans are apt to be employed and not living in poverty.

One of the factors contributing to their economic status are federal benefits such as education and job training through the G.I. Bill. This affects veteran's later employment opportunities.

According to the report, veterans who served most recently were most likely to be employed:

  • The majority of U.S. veterans (54.7 percent) were employed in 2000.
  • Among veterans serving in August 1990 or later, 81.4 percent were employed.
  • Among those serving from September 1980 to July 1990, 82.7 percent were employed.
  • Among veterans serving from May 1975 to August 1980, 78.0 percent were employed.

The report also showed that poverty rates were low among veterans for every period of service.

  • Overall, 5.6 percent of veterans lived in poverty in 1999, compared with 10.9 percent of the U.S. adult population in general.
  • The youngest veterans, those who served in August 1990 or later, were among the most likely to be poor, with a poverty rate of 6.2 percent.
  • The poverty rate for Vietnam era veterans was 5.1 percent.
  • Korean War and World War II veterans had among the lowest poverty rates for veterans, 4.5 percent and 4.8 percent respectively.

Source: Christy Richardson and Judith Waldrop, "Veterans: 2000," Census Brief, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, May 2003.

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