At the turn of this new decade, we’ve been thinking about what’s ahead for our nation’s veterans. Statistics tell us that the veteran population in 2030 will look quite different than it does today. So what will it look like, and what do these changes mean for communities serving veterans? This series of blogs compares the demographic makeup of the 2020 veteran population to that of 2030. We’ll consider the circumstances driving these demographic shifts, imagine the challenges and opportunities they present, and offer considerations for collaboratives as they work to create communities in which veterans and their families can thrive after service. Here’s what we know about 2030...
The largest service-era cohort will also be the group with the longest continuous wartime service.
In 2030, the majority of veterans—52.8%—will have served during the Gulf War era, including Post-9/11 veterans who will make up 23.8% of the veteran population. It is possible that by 2030, the entire military experience of the majority of America's veterans will been served during times of war.
Communities can continue to improve how they serve these veterans and their families by:
Veterans will continue to settle in the south and the west.
Source: VA VetPop data
The VetPop projections suggest that the geographic layout of the veterans space is evolving—however slightly. By 2030, Virginia and Georgia will bump Pennsylvania and Ohio down the rankings of the states with most veterans, and Illinois will disappear from the top 10, replaced by Washington.
When serving the veterans in their states—or working to attract veterans to become residents—collaboratives may want to consider:
We can’t see the future. But these statistics are our best-informed guess at what the veteran population of the future may be like. If we use this information to inform sustainable, wise systems changes now, we’ll be helping today’s veterans, and tomorrow’s.