2014 Minority Veteran Report
Over the past 30 years, racial and ethnic minorities have entered the military in ever-increasing numbers. Ultimately, they will make the transition from Servicemember to Veteran.
For this report the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adheres to the 1997 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standards on race and ethnicity which includes two ethnic categories (Hispanic or Latino, and Not Hispanic or Latino) and five racial categories (American Indian or Alaska Native (AIAN), Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (NHOPI), and White). The 1997 OMB standards permit the reporting of more than one race. Non-Minorities are White non-Hispanic and all other race categories are included in the minority classification.
In 2014, minorities comprised 22.6 percent of the total Veteran population in the United States. By 2040, they are projected to make up 35.7 percent of all living Veterans. This comprehensive report chronicles the history of minorities in the military and as Veterans, profiles the characteristics of minority Veterans in 2014, illustrates how minority Veterans in 2014 utilized some of the major benefits and services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and discusses challenges of minority Veterans in relation to VA.
The goal of this report is to gain an understanding of who our minority Veterans are, how their military service affects their post-military lives, and how they can be better served based on these insights.
A Growing Population
Active duty and reserve forces decreased by 8.4 and 12.4 percent respectively from 1995 to 2014, while minority personnel increased by 26.6 and 4.2 percent respectively over the same time period.
This same trend is seen in the Veteran population. Figure 2 shows that total Veteran population is projected to decrease from 22.0 million in 2014 to 14.5 million in in 2043. This drop is about 7.5 million Veterans or 33.9 percent of the total Veteran Population in almost 30 years.
During this same timeframe, the number of minority Veterans is projected to increase from 5.0 million in 2014 to 5.2 million in 2043 or about 4.5 percent increase.
• According to data from the 2014 Veterans Population Projection Model, 5.0 million Veterans in the United States and Puerto Rico were minorities. Minorities represented about 22.6 percent of the total Veteran popula¬tion in 2014.
• According to the American Community Survey 2014, over forty-three percent of all minority Veterans have served during the Gulf War Era (August 1990 to the present).
• Thirty-five percent of all minority Veterans had a high school diploma or less as their highest level of educa¬tional attainment in 2014, compared with 51.8 percent of non-Veteran minorities. About a third more minority Veterans had some college as their highest level of education compared with minority non-Veterans (42.7 percent compared with 28.3 percent, respectively). Overall, a higher percentage of all minority Veterans (22.6 percent) than non-Veterans (19.9 percent) had completed a Bachelor’s or advanced degree.
• In 2014, working-age minority Veterans (i.e., those 17 to 64 years old) had a higher labor force participation rate (73.9 percent) than minority non-Veterans (71.6 percent).
• Minority Veterans have a 44 percent higher risk of unemployment than non-minority Veterans.
• Overall, minority Veterans were less likely than minority non-Veterans to be living in poverty in 2014. About 10.9 percent of all minority Veterans and 20.9 percent of all minority non-Veterans had incomes below poverty.
• About 6.2 percent of minority Veterans were uninsured in 2014, compared with 22.5 percent of non-Veteran minorities.
• A third of insured minority Veterans (32.2) had more than one type of health insurance coverage in 2014, compared with about 7.7 percent of non-Veteran minority.
VA Benefits and Service Utilization
• The number of minority Veterans who use at least one VA benefit or service has steadily grown from 35.2 percent in 2005 to 44.1 percent in 2014.
• In 2014, about 45.6 percent of minority Veterans were enrolled in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) health care system.
• In 2014, 19.5 percent of minority Veterans received compensation from VA for a service-connected disability. Fifty-two percent of minority Veterans receiving compensation had a combined disability rating of 50 percent or higher.
• Thirty-one percent of Veterans participating in the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program in 2014 were minorities (40,021 out of 127,966).
• In 2014, 5.4 percent of the total population of minority Veterans used education benefits.
• About 27,987 minority Veterans used memorial benefits in 2014.
Celebrating Veterans of All Backgrounds
Minority Veterans made up about 22% of the total Veteran population in 2014.
The two largest groups are Black (11%) and Hispanic (7%) identified veterans.
Women made up about 8% of the Veteran population in 2014.
The two largest groups are Black (18%) and Hispanic (8%) identified veterans. As the veterans of tomorrow, in September 2014 there were about 201,359 women on active duty, about 16% of the active force.
Asian-Americans make up the majority of veterans 75 years and older
Among older minority veterans, AIAN (American Indian / Alaskan Native) identified veterans were predominant in the 65 to 74 year group (22.3%) while Asian-American identified veterans were predominant in the 75 and older group (18.4%).