The Department of Veterans Affairs says there are 19 million veterans in the United States. These include a few who served in World War II, which ended in 1945, and now a large number who leave the military each year. Those who have served get a modest set of benefits when they retire, including access to VA hospitals, pension and disability compensation, home loans and education programs.
The human toll of American military conflicts extends far beyond those killed or missing in action. About 30% of veterans nationwide have a disability, and about 41% of Americans who have served since Sept. 11, 2001, have a disability connected with their service. These typically include missing limbs, burns, spinal cord injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, hearing loss and traumatic brain injuries.
Veterans of the armed service reside in towns across the country, but some parts of the country have a considerably higher concentration of military vets than others. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. identified the U.S. town with the most veterans.
In every town we considered, veterans account for over 25% of the adult civilian population – more than triple the national share of 7.1%.
Places we considered The places on this list are concentrated in the South, including seven in Texas alone. Many of the places we looked at – including Fort Hood, Texas,
It is important to note that while many veterans chose to enlist out of a sense of patriotic duty, many living veterans did not choose to serve and were drafted into service during the Vietnam War. In a handful of the towns we reviewed, those whose period of service is confined to the Vietnam Era account for over 50% of the total veteran population. and Fort Drum, New York – are themselves military bases, as certain bases around the country offer affordable housing options for former service members.
The town with the most veterans is West Point, New York, home to The United States Military Academy (USMA). Details:
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 58.4%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 88.9% — 9th highest of 11,705 towns
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 0.0% reported — the lowest of 11,705 towns (tied)
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 0.0% reported — the lowest of 11,705 towns (tied)
Methodology: To determine the town with the most veterans, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of the share of the civilian population 18 years and over who are veterans from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey.
We used census “place” geographies — a category that includes incorporated legal entities and census-designated statistical entities. We defined towns based on population thresholds — having at least 1,000 people and less than 25,000 people.
Towns were excluded if the share of veterans was not available in the 2020 ACS, if the civilian population 18 and over was less than 1,000, or if the sampling error associated with a town’s data was deemed too high.
The sampling error was defined as too high if the coefficient of variation — a statistical assessment of how reliable an estimate is — for a town’s share of veterans was above 15% and greater than two standard deviations above the mean CV for all towns’ veteran shares. We similarly excluded towns that had a sampling error too high for their population, using the same definition.
Towns were ranked based on the share of the population 18 and over who are veterans. To break ties, we used the number of veterans.
Additional information on the share of veterans who served enlisted after 9/11, in the Vietnam Era, and during the Korean War are also five-year estimates from the 2020 ACS.
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