Mapping veterans: Not who you think, not where you think
The US veteran demographic profile faces sharp changes in the near future, with the overall veteran population decreasing nearly 40 percent by 2045, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). While veterans in general are increasing their presence in the South and West, high numbers of Vietnam-era veterans continue to live in the Northeast and Midwest. Overall, the veteran population will shrink by several million in the near future.
Significant differences at the county level in veteran population, as predicted separately by VetPop 2016 and the American Community Surveys, can translate to mismatched allocation of resources for veterans’ health care and other needs.
Outdated information impedes our ability to predict veteran population shifts. The US Census has not captured information on veterans’ status since 2000, nor is it slated to in 2020. This severely throws into question the capacity of Congress, the VA, and state and local governments to plan adequately for the changing needs of American veterans.