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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