Special Report

Counties Where the Fewest Veterans Live

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There are over 17.8 million military veterans living in the United States. These men and women, who have sacrificed more for their country than most lifelong civilians ever will, reside in cities and towns across the country, and are an important part of the social and economic fabric of their communities. 

Young Americans enlist in the armed services for many reasons. In addition to service to their country, the reasons often include the opportunity to get physically fit and gain new skills. And many of these skills appear to pay off beyond their military service. A Pew Research study found that over half of all veterans say their service provided them with useful training for the civilian job market. Veterans are also less likely to live in poverty and more likely to have higher incomes than their non-veteran counterparts. 

Nationwide, 7.1% of the total U.S. civilian adult population are veterans. This amount can vary considerably from place to place, however, and in some U.S. counties, veteran populations are relatively small. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 counties and county equivalents with the fewest veterans. 

Among the counties on this list, veteran populations range from as little as 1.3% to no more than 3.9% of  all civilians 18 and older. Many counties on this list are in, or in close proximity to, a major city. These include Los Angeles County, California; Cook County, Illinois; and all five counties that make up New York City, as well as several other nearby New York and New Jersey counties. 

Military veterans are slightly less likely than non-veterans to have a bachelor’s degree, and several of the places on this list are home to major colleges and universities, including Utah County, Utah and Santa Clara County, California. Here is a look at the U.S. presidents who have served in the military. 

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 the military during the Vietnam War. In most counties on this list, those whose period of service is confined to the Vietnam Era account for over 25% of the total veteran population. Here is a look at the wars that claimed the most American lives

Click here to see the counties with the fewest veterans. 

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

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50. Finney County, Kansas
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.9%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 14.9% — 629th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 29.8% — 507th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 13.8% — 209th highest of 3,032 counties

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49. Stevens County, Kansas
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.9%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 8.6% — 1,067th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 15.2% — 21st lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 19.2% — 52nd highest of 3,032 counties

48. Stevens County, Minnesota
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.9%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 12.0% — 1,132nd highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 30.4% — 591st lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 13.7% — 211th highest of 3,032 counties

Source: BOB WESTON / iStock via Getty Images

47. Lea County, New Mexico
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.8%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 14.5% — 692nd highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 37.5% — 1,239th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 6.1% — 1,243rd lowest of 3,032 counties

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46. San Mateo County, California
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.8%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 10.5% — 1,492nd highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 35.1% — 1,328th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 10.7% — 500th highest of 3,032 counties

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45. Somerset County, New Jersey
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.8%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 11.3% — 1,301st highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 34.3% — 1,189th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 14.1% — 182nd highest of 3,032 counties

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44. Nassau County, New York
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.8%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 8.4% — 1,034th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 34.4% — 1,205th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 13.4% — 226th highest of 3,032 counties

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43. Holmes County, Mississippi
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.8%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 2.4% — 122nd lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 20.4% — 83rd lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 1.6% — 113th lowest of 3,032 counties

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42. Cook County, Illinois
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.8%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 11.8% — 1,181st highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 34.8% — 1,272nd lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 8.5% — 912th highest of 3,032 counties

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41. Humphreys County, Mississippi
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.8%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 9.2% — 1,208th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 38.2% — 1,135th highest of 3,032 counties (tied)
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 5.3% — 933rd lowest of 3,032 counties (tied)

40. Bergen County, New Jersey
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.8%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 10.2% — 1,472nd lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 33.5% — 1,027th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 13.2% — 235th highest of 3,032 counties

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39. Middlesex County, New Jersey
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.8%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 12.1% — 1,129th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 35.5% — 1,416th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 11.1% — 446th highest of 3,032 counties

38. Frio County, Texas
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.7%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 36.6% — 7th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 18.7% — 51st lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 17.3% — 70th highest of 3,032 counties

Source: BOB WESTON / Getty Images

37. Bullock County, Alabama
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.7%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 12.0% — 1,147th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 28.8% — 422nd lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 0.0% reported — the lowest of 3,032 counties (tied)

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36. Martin County, Kentucky
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.7%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 16.6% — 406th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 44.8% — 358th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 5.9% — 1,173rd lowest of 3,032 counties

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35. Gaines County, Texas
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.7%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 44.2% — 3rd highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 21.2% — 100th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 3.6% — 440th lowest of 3,032 counties (tied)

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34. Utah County, Utah
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.6%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 19.3% — 230th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 27.6% — 342nd lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 7.3% — 1,328th highest of 3,032 counties

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33. Alameda County, California
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.6%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 14.5% — 684th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 32.1% — 803rd lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 8.3% — 1,017th highest of 3,032 counties

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32. Rockland County, New York
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.6%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 9.0% — 1,154th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 32.6% — 865th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 15.0% — 140th highest of 3,032 counties

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31. Teton County, Idaho
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.6%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 28.3% — 45th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 13.7% — 16th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 11.2% — 435th highest of 3,032 counties (tied)

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30. Walthall County, Mississippi
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.6%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 20.1% — 183rd highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 47.5% — 194th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 12.7% — 289th highest of 3,032 counties

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29. Calhoun County, Mississippi
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.6%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 14.3% — 718th highest of 3,032 counties (tied)
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 31.3% — 694th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 6.8% — 1,499th lowest of 3,032 counties

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28. Westchester County, New York
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.6%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 8.5% — 1,054th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 30.7% — 618th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 13.8% — 208th highest of 3,032 counties

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27. Sunflower County, Mississippi
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.5%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 21.2% — 150th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 28.3% — 384th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 5.2% — 917th lowest of 3,032 counties

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26. Richmond County, New York
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.5%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 8.5% — 1,041st lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 34.7% — 1,263rd lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 11.4% — 406th highest of 3,032 counties

25. East Carroll Parish, Louisiana
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.5%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 10.3% — 1,498th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 39.7% — 883rd highest of 3,032 counties (tied)
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 12.5% — 308th highest of 3,032 counties (tied)

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24. Chickasaw County, Mississippi
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.5%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 27.3% — 54th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 31.5% — 720th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 4.3% — 629th lowest of 3,032 counties

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23. Seward County, Kansas
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.3%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 11.5% — 1,264th highest of 3,032 counties (tied)
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 30.6% — 606th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 14.8% — 151st highest of 3,032 counties

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22. Union County, New Jersey
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.3%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 10.6% — 1,467th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 33.9% — 1,122nd lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 11.2% — 432nd highest of 3,032 counties

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21. Passaic County, New Jersey
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.3%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 12.1% — 1,110th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 36.7% — 1,388th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 10.0% — 602nd highest of 3,032 counties

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20. Los Angeles County, California
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.2%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 15.3% — 565th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 31.2% — 670th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 8.8% — 833rd highest of 3,032 counties

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19. Sharkey County, Mississippi
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.2%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 0.0% reported — the lowest of 3,032 counties (tied)
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 29.6% — 493rd lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 1.9% — 129th lowest of 3,032 counties (tied)

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18. Santa Clara County, California
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.2%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 12.3% — 1,053rd highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 33.6% — 1,038th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 10.0% — 604th highest of 3,032 counties

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17. Hidalgo County, Texas
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.1%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 14.7% — 652nd highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 32.8% — 900th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 7.0% — 1,453rd highest of 3,032 counties

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16. Essex County, New Jersey
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.0%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 11.6% — 1,239th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 29.5% — 489th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 8.2% — 1,030th highest of 3,032 counties

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15. Webb County, Texas
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 3.0%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 15.5% — 548th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 31.1% — 665th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 12.9% — 261st highest of 3,032 counties

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14. San Francisco County, California
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 2.9%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 15.0% — 607th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 32.3% — 839th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 9.6% — 651st highest of 3,032 counties

13. Harrisonburg city, Virginia
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 2.8%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 27.0% — 58th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 23.6% — 156th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 3.6% — 432nd lowest of 3,032 counties

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12. Suffolk County, Massachusetts
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 2.7%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 21.4% — 143rd highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 29.1% — 453rd lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 8.5% — 932nd highest of 3,032 counties

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11. Madison County, Idaho
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 2.6%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 17.6% — 329th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 47.2% — 208th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 5.9% — 1,158th lowest of 3,032 counties

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10. Leflore County, Mississippi
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 2.6%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 0.0% reported — the lowest of 3,032 counties (tied)
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 42.3% — 566th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 6.0% — 1,216th lowest of 3,032 counties

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9. Texas County, Oklahoma
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 2.5%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 5.4% — 447th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 40.3% — 791st highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 23.7% — 16th highest of 3,032 counties

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8. Queens County, New York
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 2.2%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 15.3% — 570th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 28.2% — 377th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 11.0% — 463rd highest of 3,032 counties

7. Miami-Dade County, Florida
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 2.2%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 20.0% — 186th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 27.7% — 346th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 4.7% — 755th lowest of 3,032 counties

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6. Bronx County, New York
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 2.2%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 18.0% — 302nd highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 27.1% — 315th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 9.1% — 772nd highest of 3,032 counties

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5. New York County, New York
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 2.1%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 15.6% — 534th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 24.2% — 180th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 14.0% — 194th highest of 3,032 counties

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4. Hudson County, New Jersey
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 2.0%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 18.5% — 265th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 30.2% — 564th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 9.5% — 682nd highest of 3,032 counties

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3. Starr County, Texas
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 2.0%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 15.9% — 486th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 45.2% — 322nd highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 3.3% — 364th lowest of 3,032 counties

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2. Kings County, New York
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 1.8%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 15.7% — 519th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 31.3% — 691st lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 7.8% — 1,157th highest of 3,032 counties

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1. Maverick County, Texas
> Civilian adults who have served in the military: 1.3%
> Veterans who first enlisted after 9/11: 23.6% — 88th highest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served in the Vietnam Era only: 29.0% — 446th lowest of 3,032 counties
> Veterans who served during the Korean War only: 2.1% — 168th lowest of 3,032 counties

Methodology 

To determine the counties and county equivalents with the fewest 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.

Counties 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 county’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 county’s share of veterans was above 15% and greater than two standard deviations above the mean CV for all counties’ veteran shares. We similarly excluded counties that had a sampling error too high for their population, using the same definition.

Counties 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 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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