Census Report Reveals Post-9/11 Vets Earn More, Work More Than Non-Vets

November 11, 2020 by Sara Wilkerson
Tourists visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. (Photo by Dan McCue)

A new report from the U.S Census Bureau details the employment patterns of the 3 million post 9/11 veterans in the country from 2014 to 2018. The report shows that this growing veteran population is earning more and working longer hours than those who have never served in the military. 

In terms of overall employment, the report said that, “About 80% of Post-9/11 veterans were employed. Conversely, only about 75% of civilians who never served were employed.” 

When broken down further, the Census Bureau reports that post 9/11 male veterans had a lower unemployment rate than male nonveterans, 4.7 and 5.4%, respectively. 

For women, on the other hand, the opposite effect was found. Post 9/11 female veterans were found more likely to be unemployed than women who never served in the armed forces (4.9 and 4.6%, respectively). 

The report highlights other details about post 9/11 veteran employment, such as work characteristics, education and work history factors, earnings and occupational differences. 

Characteristically speaking, post 9/11 veterans were more likely than nonveterans, “to work year-round, full-time jobs (81% compared with 71%); to work longer hours per week (43.1 hours compared with 39.4 hours); and to work for the federal, state, or local government (33.3% compared with 12.4%).” 

The report also looked into the likelihood of education enrollments between veterans and nonveterans. 

Interestingly, veterans between 2014 and 2018 were more likely than nonveterans to be enrolled in school (32% compared with 26.4%). At the same time, those veterans enrolled in an educational institution were more likely to have worked within the past year (33.9% compared with 26.1%). 

When comparing the link between educational experience and earnings, post 9/11 veterans with less than a college degree had a substantial earnings advantage over nonveterans. 

“Those with at most a high school education earned about $8,000 more per year, and those with some college earned about $11,000 more per year than nonveterans with similar levels of education,” said the Census Bureau. 

The report went on to state that veterans earn a median of $46,000 a year compared to the $35,000 of their nonveteran counterparts. 

For veterans returning to the workforce after serving the country, those seeking full-time, year-round employment were likely to have occupations in only a select few occupational groups. 

The most popular occupational group, comprising roughly 10% of the 3 million veterans in the five-year period studied by the Census Bureau, was the protective services industry. Those in this category are likely to be found to be serving as firefighters, police officers, and other similar community-focused jobs. 

Aside from protective services, veterans were likely to be employed in jobs in installation, maintenance, and repair occupations and less regularly in office and administrative support, sales, and related occupations, where nonveterans were most frequently found. 

When broken down by gender demographics, overall occupational groupings varied. 

According to a summary of the Census Bureau’s report, “Top occupation groups for men, whether they were post-9/11 veterans or nonveterans, were: management; installation, maintenance, and repair; and production. 

“However, post-9/11 veteran men were more likely than their nonveteran peers to work in protective service and office and administrative support occupations.” 

The same summary found that women also experienced similar contrasting occupational groupings. 

“Post-9/11 veteran and nonveteran women also shared four of the same top occupation groups: office and administrative support, health care practitioners and technical, management, and sales and related. 

“Among the remaining occupation groups, a larger percentage of post-9/11 veteran women worked in business and financial operations, while more nonveterans worked in educational instruction and library occupations,” said the Bureau’s summary findings. 

To read more about the full report about post 9/11 veterans’ employment status in the labor market, visit the Census Bureau’s website


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