The rapid decline of the veteran population in the United States

A Note on Disappearing Veterans

From Armed Forces & Society

This paper demonstrates that the number of veterans in the United States has decreased dramatically over recent decades. Evidence is provided for the growing residential segregation of the veteran–nonveteran populations using data for the period 1980–2010. It was found that the proportion of America’s population that has military experience has declined sharply over time and that the geographic distribution of veterans has become increasingly concentrated. It is suggested by some that the divide is a consequence of misunderstanding and geographic and social isolation of the military. The increasing geographic concentration of veterans may hold consequences for civil–military relations.


In this research note, the rapid decline of the veteran population in the United States from 1980 to 2010 is outlined. The decline in the veteran population has been accompanied by an increasing concentration of veterans in smaller, more rural counties, often surrounding military bases. The result is that there has been a consistent increase in the residential segregation of veterans from the nonveteran population.


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Article details
Research Notes: Jay Teachman
A Note on Disappearing Veterans
Armed Forces & Society October 2013 39: 740-750, first published on January 15, 2013doi:10.1177/0095327X12468731



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