Special Report

States With the Most Veterans

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July 4, 2020, marks the 244th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the 13 colonies. As people across the country celebrate the occasion with fireworks, parades, and BBQs — while observing state and local social distancing rules — it is fitting to acknowledge the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces.

Across the United States, there are nearly 18 million adults who have served in the military. Of U.S. veterans living in the United States, one-fifth served in the years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, over a third served in the Vietnam era, and less than half a million served in World War II.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states with the most veterans. In a handful of states, veterans make up less than 5% of the adult population. In other states, they account for more than 10% of residents 18 and older.

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, just over half of all veterans say that their military training did a good job preparing them for civilian life. Nationwide, working-age veterans are about as likely as the typical working-age American to participate in the labor force, and veteran households are more likely to be better off financially than non-veteran households. The percentage of veterans who live in poverty is lower than the poverty rate for all people in every state. 

Still, many veterans, particularly those who suffered trauma on their tour of duty, are at increased risk of financial hardship and substance abuse problems. Nationwide, there are 1.2 million veterans living below the poverty line and at least 37,000 homeless veterans. 

While there are some exceptions, many of the states that are home to a large concentration of veterans are also home to major military bases as well as a high concentration of active duty troops. Here is a look at the states with the most people in the military, and here is a look at America’s military cities

Click here to see the states with the most veterans.
Click here to see our methodology.

50. New York
> Veteran population: 678,833 (4.4% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 106,916 (15.7% of veterans – 8th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 246,548 (36.3% of veterans – 25th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 74.0% – 12th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 6.8% – 22nd highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 1,270

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49. New Jersey
> Veteran population: 308,012 (4.4% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 49,242 (16.0% of veterans – 10th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 112,419 (36.5% of veterans – 23rd highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 81.3% – 9th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 4.9% – 7th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 551

48. California
> Veteran population: 1,538,797 (5.1% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 325,615 (21.2% of veterans – 24th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 537,650 (34.9% of veterans – 14th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 76.4% – 20th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 7.1% – 20th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 10,980

47. Massachusetts
> Veteran population: 292,644 (5.3% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 48,182 (16.5% of veterans – 14th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 103,306 (35.3% of veterans – 17th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 79.8% – 14th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 6.3% – 20th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 917

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46. Utah
> Veteran population: 120,410 (5.4% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 29,671 (24.6% of veterans – 8th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 41,246 (34.3% of veterans – 12th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 82.1% – 7th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 4.9% – 7th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 211

45. Illinois
> Veteran population: 559,656 (5.7% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 98,857 (17.7% of veterans – 17th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 203,913 (36.4% of veterans – 24th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 78.5% – 17th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 6.6% – 25th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 690

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44. Connecticut
> Veteran population: 165,029 (5.8% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 26,712 (16.2% of veterans – 12th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 61,354 (37.2% of veterans – 20th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 81.1% – 10th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 5.8% – 13th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 195

43. Rhode Island
> Veteran population: 54,848 (6.5% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 11,227 (20.5% of veterans – 25th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 21,323 (38.9% of veterans – 8th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 81.4% – 8th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 8.3% – 5th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 92

42. Vermont
> Veteran population: 33,986 (6.7% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 3,806 (11.2% of veterans – the lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 15,017 (44.2% of veterans – the highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 73.3% – 10th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 6.2% – 17th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 87

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41. Texas
> Veteran population: 1,435,787 (6.8% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 396,060 (27.6% of veterans – 4th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 471,690 (32.9% of veterans – 7th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 78.0% – 22nd highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 6.5% – 23rd lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 1,806

40. Michigan
> Veteran population: 530,572 (6.8% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 74,655 (14.1% of veterans – 2nd lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 203,602 (38.4% of veterans – 10th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 74.7% – 14th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 7.4% – 12th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 599

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39. Minnesota
> Veteran population: 294,377 (6.8% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 46,837 (15.9% of veterans – 9th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 111,668 (37.9% of veterans – 15th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 79.6% – 15th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 6.3% – 20th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 297

38. Louisiana
> Veteran population: 247,339 (7.0% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 53,908 (21.8% of veterans – 20th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 87,280 (35.3% of veterans – 17th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 72.3% – 7th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 9.5% – 2nd highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 360

37. Mississippi
> Veteran population: 162,926 (7.2% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 37,216 (22.8% of veterans – 17th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 52,935 (32.5% of veterans – 4th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 73.3% – 10th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 6.8% – 22nd highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 72

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36. Wisconsin
> Veteran population: 326,288 (7.2% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 49,132 (15.1% of veterans – 5th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 124,986 (38.3% of veterans – 11th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 77.7% – 24th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 5.8% – 13th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 359

35. Pennsylvania
> Veteran population: 745,909 (7.3% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 112,778 (15.1% of veterans – 5th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 278,351 (37.3% of veterans – 19th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 77.6% – 25th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 6.9% – 21st highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 857

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34. Indiana
> Veteran population: 380,079 (7.4% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 67,155 (17.7% of veterans – 17th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 136,161 (35.8% of veterans – 21st lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 78.8% – 16th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 7.4% – 12th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 572

33. Ohio
> Veteran population: 680,310 (7.5% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 111,617 (16.4% of veterans – 13th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 245,852 (36.1% of veterans – 23rd lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 77.4% – 25th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 7.2% – 17th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 676

32. Kentucky
> Veteran population: 261,887 (7.6% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 52,350 (20.0% of veterans – 23rd lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 92,698 (35.4% of veterans – 18th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 70.8% – 3rd lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 7.8% – 8th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 447

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31. Iowa
> Veteran population: 184,032 (7.6% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 29,563 (16.1% of veterans – 11th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 66,990 (36.4% of veterans – 24th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 80.5% – 12th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 5.7% – 10th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 149

30. Georgia
> Veteran population: 609,508 (7.6% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 144,746 (23.7% of veterans – 13th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 200,319 (32.9% of veterans – 7th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 76.9% – 24th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 6.4% – 22nd lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 801

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29. Maryland
> Veteran population: 363,178 (7.8% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 96,715 (26.6% of veterans – 5th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 111,591 (30.7% of veterans – 2nd lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 83.1% – 6th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 4.2% – 2nd lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 490

28. North Dakota
> Veteran population: 45,135 (7.8% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 10,874 (24.1% of veterans – 10th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 15,677 (34.7% of veterans – 13th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 85.2% – the highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 7.7% – 9th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 49

27. Nebraska
> Veteran population: 116,754 (8.1% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 24,870 (21.3% of veterans – 22nd highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 40,072 (34.3% of veterans – 12th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 84.7% – 2nd highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 5.4% – 9th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 175

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26. Missouri
> Veteran population: 384,150 (8.1% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 70,919 (18.5% of veterans – 20th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 148,953 (38.8% of veterans – 9th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 75.3% – 16th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 7.3% – 15th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 488

25. Arkansas
> Veteran population: 187,903 (8.1% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 36,393 (19.4% of veterans – 21st lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 69,185 (36.8% of veterans – 22nd highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 69.7% – 2nd lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 8.2% – 6th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 238

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24. Kansas
> Veteran population: 178,959 (8.2% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 44,131 (24.7% of veterans – 7th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 60,993 (34.1% of veterans – 10th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 78.5% – 17th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 7.4% – 12th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 189

23. Tennessee
> Veteran population: 429,585 (8.2% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 96,531 (22.5% of veterans – 18th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 153,462 (35.7% of veterans – 20th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 73.5% – 11th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 6.3% – 20th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 679

22. South Dakota
> Veteran population: 54,691 (8.2% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 12,178 (22.3% of veterans – 19th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 20,923 (38.3% of veterans – 11th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 78.3% – 20th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 5.4% – 9th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 66

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21. North Carolina
> Veteran population: 667,035 (8.3% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 161,466 (24.2% of veterans – 9th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 224,691 (33.7% of veterans – 8th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 76.0% – 19th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 6.8% – 22nd highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 907

20. Oregon
> Veteran population: 279,132 (8.4% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 46,392 (16.6% of veterans – 15th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 110,596 (39.6% of veterans – 3rd highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 72.7% – 8th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 7.2% – 17th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 1,438

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19. Colorado
> Veteran population: 371,081 (8.4% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 98,231 (26.5% of veterans – 6th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 125,501 (33.8% of veterans – 9th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 80.2% – 13th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 6.2% – 17th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 1,068

18. Florida
> Veteran population: 1,439,606 (8.5% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 264,521 (18.4% of veterans – 19th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 520,697 (36.2% of veterans – 24th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 75.0% – 15th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 6.6% – 25th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 2,472

17. New Hampshire
> Veteran population: 93,957 (8.6% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 14,488 (15.4% of veterans – 6th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 35,982 (38.3% of veterans – 11th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 81.0% – 11th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 3.7% – the lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 113

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16. Alabama
> Veteran population: 324,612 (8.6% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 76,638 (23.6% of veterans – 14th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 114,539 (35.3% of veterans – 17th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 71.3% – 5th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 7.3% – 15th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 292

15. West Virginia
> Veteran population: 126,473 (8.8% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 19,690 (15.6% of veterans – 7th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 50,933 (40.3% of veterans – 2nd highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 68.1% – the lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 9.9% – the highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 137

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14. Delaware
> Veteran population: 66,896 (8.8% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 12,053 (18.0% of veterans – 18th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 25,349 (37.9% of veterans – 15th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 78.0% – 22nd highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 6.0% – 15th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 65

13. Washington
> Veteran population: 520,226 (8.9% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 124,157 (23.9% of veterans – 11th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 185,141 (35.6% of veterans – 19th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 78.1% – 21st highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 5.8% – 13th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 1,585

12. Oklahoma
> Veteran population: 266,513 (9.0% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 63,647 (23.9% of veterans – 11th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 98,743 (37.0% of veterans – 21st highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 74.4% – 13th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 7.2% – 17th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 280

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11. Arizona
> Veteran population: 496,239 (9.0% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 100,002 (20.2% of veterans – 24th lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 190,010 (38.3% of veterans – 11th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 76.5% – 21st lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 6.8% – 22nd highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 910

10. Nevada
> Veteran population: 211,114 (9.0% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 45,362 (21.5% of veterans – 21st highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 76,028 (36.0% of veterans – 22nd lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 76.6% – 22nd lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 8.0% – 7th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 674

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9. New Mexico
> Veteran population: 146,147 (9.1% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 33,962 (23.2% of veterans – 16th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 57,060 (39.0% of veterans – 5th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 72.0% – 6th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 9.4% – 3rd highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 257

8. South Carolina
> Veteran population: 363,194 (9.2% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 77,043 (21.2% of veterans – 24th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 136,178 (37.5% of veterans – 18th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 76.0% – 19th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 8.5% – 4th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 462

7. Idaho
> Veteran population: 121,327 (9.3% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 24,245 (20.0% of veterans – 23rd lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 46,036 (37.9% of veterans – 15th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 76.0% – 19th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 6.4% – 22nd lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 201

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6. Hawaii
> Veteran population: 102,915 (9.6% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 34,911 (33.9% of veterans – 2nd highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 33,908 (32.9% of veterans – 7th lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 84.7% – 2nd highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 4.3% – 3rd lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 505

5. Maine
> Veteran population: 105,385 (9.7% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 15,403 (14.6% of veterans – 3rd lowest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 41,119 (39.0% of veterans – 5th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 71.1% – 4th lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 5.9% – 14th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 116

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4. Montana
> Veteran population: 84,392 (10.2% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 17,989 (21.3% of veterans – 22nd highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 32,940 (39.0% of veterans – 5th highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 78.5% – 17th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 7.6% – 10th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 205

3. Wyoming
> Veteran population: 45,252 (10.3% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 10,543 (23.3% of veterans – 15th highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 17,919 (39.6% of veterans – 3rd highest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 84.3% – 4th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 4.5% – 4th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 51

2. Virginia
> Veteran population: 670,273 (10.3% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 221,696 (33.1% of veterans – 3rd highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 198,524 (29.6% of veterans – the lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 83.6% – 5th highest
> Veterans living in poverty: 4.9% – 7th lowest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 447

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1. Alaska
> Veteran population: 67,635 (12.6% of adult pop.)
> Veterans who served in US wars after Sept. 11, 2001: 25,373 (37.5% of veterans – the highest)
> Vietnam era veterans: 20,885 (30.9% of veterans – 3rd lowest)
> Veteran labor force participation rate: 76.8% – 23rd lowest
> Veterans living in poverty: 7.5% – 11th highest
> Estimated number of homeless veterans: 111

Methodology

To identify the states with the most veterans, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the veteran status of the civilian population 18 years and older from the U.S Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey. 

Veteran age, disability status, labor force participation rates (the percentage of working age veterans who are employed or looking for work), and percentage of veterans that fought in each major U.S conflict also came from the ACS. 

The number of homeless veterans, sheltered and unsheltered, is from the 2019 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, which is delivered to the U.S Congress by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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