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Armed Forces Military Veteran Statistics

Our active duty personnel are stationed across the globe. The Pentagon's 2007 list of bases, states that the U.S. has 865 military bases world-wide. However, since then we have added and closed a few “new bases in Iraq and Afghanistan that would add up to just under a one thousand bases worldwide (Gusterson, 2009.  About 85,000 active duty military personnel are stationed in California alone. Additionally, the California National Guard, comprised of both Army and Air National Guard components, is the largest national guard force in the United States with a total authorized strength of 22,900 soldiers and airmen.

Below is an extensive list of facts and their sources which were all provided by Surveysez:

  • U.S. Department of Defense, Personnel & Procurement Statistics, Armed Forces Strength Figures for August 31, 2010:
    • Total Armed Services: 1,478,455
      • Army: 568,169 – 38% of total
      • Air Force: 336,317 – 23% of total
      • Navy: 329,622 – 22% of total
      • Marine Corps: 201,623 – 14% of total
      • Coast Guard: 42,724 – 3% of total
    • U.S. Department of Defense:
      • 1.1 million serve in the National Guard and Reserve forces
    • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics (updated July 2010):
      • Projected U.S. Veteran Population: 23,067,000
  • U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (2008 data):
    • Total Population: 301 million 
    • Percent of population aged 18 and over: 75.5%
    • Total American Adult Population: 227 million (75.5% X 301 million)
    • Therefore,11% of the American Adult Population has served or is serving in the country's Armed Forces (25.6 million ÷ 227 million) (Surveysez, 2011)
  • U.S. Department of Defense, DOD 101: An Introductory Overview of the Department of Defense:
    • "With over 1.3 million men and women on active duty, and 684,000 civilian personnel, we are the nation's largest employer. Another 1.1 million serve in the National Guard and Reserve forces. More than 2 million military retirees and their family members receive benefits."
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics (updated July 2010):
    • 21.2 million or 92% of veterans are male
    • 1.8 million or 8% of veterans are female
    • Veteran Population by Race:
      • White: 18.2 million or 79.3%
      • Black: 2.6 million or 11.3%
      • Hispanic: 1.3 million or 5.8%
      • Asian/Pacific Island: 345,000 or 1.5%
      • American Indian/Alaska Native: 184,00 or .8%
      • Other: 299,000 or 1.3%
    • Projected Number of Living WWII Veterans (as of September 2009): 2,272,000 – 11% of all Veterans
    • 850 WW II Veterans pass away each year
    • 3.16 million Veterans receive disability compensation
    • 290,000 Veterans are rated 100% disabled
  • U.S. Census Bureau, National Security & Veterans Affairs (2009 data):
    • There are 23.3 million living veterans in the U.S.
    • 1.8 million are female
    • 18.3 million are White
    • 2.3 million are Black
    • 1.1 million are Hispanic
    • 463,000 are Asian, Native American Indian, Alaska Native, Hawaiian Native, Other Pacific Native
    • 6 million served in peacetime
    • 2.6 million WWII veterans, with 182,000 serving in both WWII and Korea
    • 2.8 million Korean War veterans, with 245,000 serving in both Korea and Vietnam
    • 7.8 million Vietnam veterans, with 50,000 serving in both Vietnam and the Gulf War
    • 5.2 million Gulf War veterans, with 740,000 serving in both Gulf Wars
    • 39% of U.S. military veterans are 65 years of age or older: 9 million
    • 61% of U.S. military veterans are 18 to 64 years of age: 14 million
    • There are 5.5 million disabled veterans: 3.4 million are service connected and 2.9 million receive compensation for service connected disabilities for a total cost of $36.2 billion.
      • In 2008, the U.S. spent $84.4 billion on veterans benefits programs, including:
        • $3.2 billion on vocational rehabilitation and education
        • $37.9 billion for medical programs
        • $40.2 billion was spent on compensation and pensions.
  • U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, Veteran Status (2008 data):
      • World War II: 12.9%
      • Korean War: 13.1%
      • Vietnam era: 33.8%
      • Gulf War (8/2990 to 8/2001): 14.8%
      • Gulf War (9/2001 or later): 7.8%
    • SEX:
      • 93% male; 7% female
    • AGE:
      • 39.5% 65 years old and over; 70.5% 18 to 64 years old
    • RACE:
      • White: 84.8%
      • Black: 10.3%
      • Asian: 1.2%
      • American Indian/Alaska Native: 0.7%
      • Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander: 0.1%
      • Some other race: 1.5%
      • Two or more races: 1.3%
      • Hispanic or Latino: 4.9%
      • White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 81.7%
  • U.S. Department of Defense; DOD Personnel and Procurement Statistics; Military Personnel on Active Duty by Location (2008):
    • Only 21% of U.S. military personnel are stationed outside of the U.S. on foreign soil – 289,000 troops.
    • 79% – 1.1 million troops – are based in the U.S.
    • 5.5 million veterans have a disability rating
    • 3.3 million veterans have service-connected disabilities
    • Of the 3.3 million service-connected disabled Veterans, 652,000 are rated at 70% disabled or higher
    • Other physical diversity factors include:
      • 5.5 million veterans have a disability rating
      • 3.3 million veterans have service-connected disabilities
      • Of the 3.3 million service-connected disabled Veterans, 652,000 are rated at 70% disabled or higher

America's Heroes:

Employment Solutions in Fitness for Veterans

We have over 1.4 million active military personnel along with the 1.1 million military members who currently serve in the National Guard and Reserve forces. In addition to these 2.5 million military members, we have over 22.5 million veterans. That’s over 25 million Americans who have served or is currently serving in the Armed Services—that’s about 1 out of every 9 Americans "who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount of up to, and including his/her life" (American Legion Post 4, 2011).

According to a 2008 Department of Veterans Affairs report, 4.4 million of our veterans have been discharged since 1990—two million of which served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In addition to these staggering numbers another 39,000 just recently came home from Iraq along with another 10,000 from Afghanistan which should be followed by another 23,000 in the summer of 2012.

With so many veterans returning home in the last few years, we are seeing historic unemployment numbers with veterans. In 2010, the unemployment rate for veterans was already almost a full percentage higher than non-veterans. By July of 2011, as the Iraq and Afghani-era veterans returned home, unemployment increased to a record 12.4%.

Transitioning out of the military is difficult enough as it is; add to this that veterans are now struggling to find any kind of employment—let alone an enjoyable and financially rewarding employment opportunity. In 2007, those veterans who did find jobs were earning less than $22,000 a year.

Veterans are in need of a sustainable and rewarding career option where they can support themselves and their families. As a viable career option many veterans have chosen to pursue a career in fitness.

With a recent rise in salary rates for fitness professionals, many veterans are finding opportunities to make twice the salary of what they could make in other career fields (i.e. $53,000 on average).

In fact, Fitness Trainers who develop their business and sales skills commonly move on to become Fitness Managers and Gym Owners who will often make 2- 3 times this amount earning incomes from $100,000 - $150,000.


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