Veterans Have Higher Employment and Wages Compared to General Public

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Veteran median income was 42% greater than the civilian median income in 2005 and was 35% greater than civilian median income in 2017. Although there is still a wage gap between male and female genders, in 2017, female veterans made more than their civilian counterparts at just over a $10,000 dollar difference, or a 44% difference, while male veterans in 2017 earned closer to their civilian counterparts with a median income 12% greater (Fig. 105).

VA spending per veteran has increased by 356% since 2000 in real terms. In 2017, there were approximately 20 million US military service veterans. 

Veterans who served in the Middle East during the first Gulf War and the Global War on Terror comprise 40.2% of living veterans. The rest of today’s living veterans can be classified as having served in the Vietnam era, Korean era and World War II era at 35.7%, 8.1%, and 3.4%, respectively. Since 2005, the number of veterans with any disability has gradually increased from 26.2% to 29.5% in 2017.

Veterans have gradually become more diverse. The proportion of White veterans has decreased from 85.5% in 2000 to 82.2% in 2017 while the proportion of Black veterans has increased from 9.7% in 2000 to 11.8% in 2017.