This Memorial Day, the Center for American Progress wishes to honor the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. We remember the many thousands of brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coastguardsmen who have fallen while fighting on our behalf. On this day, we also honor those still serving and their families who continue to make sacrifices for us. We commemorate these men and women and wish to express our gratitude to them and the families they have left behind for their eternal sacrifice.
This by-the-numbers look at our active duty servicemen and veterans highlights the many men and women who have served our country and are still in need of services to improve their quality of life—before, during, and after deployments.
Who Are Our Veterans?
23.8 million: Approximate number of living veterans in the United States.
1.1 million or 7 percent: Number and percent of female veterans.
37 million: Approximate number of dependents (spouses and dependent children) of living veterans and survivors of deceased veterans. This represents about 20 percent of the U.S. population.
A New Wave of American Veterans
1.64 million: Approximate number of U.S. troops who have been deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq since October 2001.
15: The current number of months for combat tours, extended from 12 by the Pentagon last year, with dwell time shortened to 12 months. While the Pentagon announced that Army tours would return to 12 months this fall, tens of thousands of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are still affected by this extension.
Living with Disability, Homelessness, and Health Problems
825,000: Number of disability claims process by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2007.
223,564: Number of veterans from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan who filed disability claims as of September 2007.
1,500: Number of homeless Iraq and Afghanistan veterans already located by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
194,000, or 1 in 4: Total number of homeless people who are estimated to be veterans.
5.5 million: Number of unique patients seen by the Veterans Health Administration in 2007. The VHA receives a total of 55.7 million outpatient visits during this time.
Mental Health Problems Plague Recent Veterans
300,000: Estimated number of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome or depression as of October 2007.
320,000: Estimated number of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who have experienced a traumatic brain injury as of October 2007.
31 percent: Percent of soldiers who suffer from PTSD, major depression, or a traumatic brain injury.
5 percent: Percent of soldiers who suffer from all three of the above conditions.
53 percent: Percent of soldiers suffering from PTSD or major depression that have seen a physician of mental health provider.
Approximately 50 percent: Percent of soldiers who did seek help for PTSD or major depression who received adequate care.
43 percent: Percent of soldiers suffering from a traumatic brain injury who have never been evaluated by a physician for a brain injury.
13 percent: The increase in the Army’s suicide rate since 2005. Suicides among active-duty soldiers in 2007 reached their highest level since the Army began keeping such records in 1980.
We have no greater duty than to repair the social compact with our troops, ensuring that they receive the highest quality training before their deployments, the best equipment and medical care we can provide for them while in action, and the best psychological and long-term care for them upon their return.
For more on veterans, please see: