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Interesting Veterans Day Facts

Learn About the Origins and Observance of Veterans Day

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Interesting Veterans Day Facts
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On Veterans Day, Americans honor all living military veterans, including the many working moms who are veterans of military service. Indeed, the 1.5 million female veterans are more likely to work full-time than their civilian counterparts. Here are some other Veterans Day facts you may not know.

How Veterans Day Began

Veterans Day is always observed on Nov. 11 with speeches and parades across the U.S. The holiday began as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I.

  • In 1926, Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance.
  • In 1938, Nov. 11 became a national holiday.
  • In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation changing the name to Veterans Day in order to honor veterans of all American wars.

Veterans by the Numbers

There were 21.9 million military veterans in the U.S. in 2009. Of those:

  • 1.5 million were female.
  • 2.3 million were black.
  • 1.1 million were Hispanic.
  • 9.2 million were 65 and older, according to 2008 figures.
  • 1.9 million were younger than 35, in 2008.

Veterans by the War

Thirty-five percent of all living veterans served during the Vietnam War. In 2009, there were:

  • 7.6 million Vietnam-era veterans. (1964-1975)
  • 4.5 million Gulf War veterans. (August 1990 to present)
  • 2.3 million World War II veterans. (1941-1945)
  • 2.7 million veterans of the Korean War. (1950-1953)
  • 47,000 veterans of both the Vietnam and Gulf War eras.

Veterans in the Work Force

9.8 million veterans were in the civilian labor force in 2009.

Women veterans earned $32,217 in 2005, more than the $27,272 earned by female civilians with no military experience.

Male veterans earned $42,128 in 2005, more than the $39,880 earned by male civilians with no military service.

Female veterans were more likely to work 35 hours or more each week and more than 3 times as likely to work in public administration, compared with non-veterans.

Veterans owned 2.4 million (9%) of the 27.1 million businesses the Census Bureau surveyed in 2007.

Veterans' Income, Education and Disability

Veterans earned a median income of $35,402 in 2009. But in 2008, figures showed 5.7% of veterans lived in poverty.

A quarter of veterans 25 and older held at least a bachelor's degree. 92% of that age group held at least a high school diploma, compared with 85 percent of the general population.

5.5 million veterans had a disability when surveyed in 2009.

Veterans More Likely to Vote

15.8 million veterans voted in the 2008 presidential election. That's 71% of all veterans, compared with 63% of non-veterans.

14 million veterans voted in the 2006 congressional election. That's 61% of all veterans, compared with only 46% of civilians with no military service.

Source: the Census Bureau

For more fun facts about the holidays, check out the About Working Moms calendar of holiday facts.

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