Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day Data Boot Camp

Today's blog is taken from "Data Mine". Please remember our veterans today. These numbers will amaze you.

Veterans Day is an official United States federal holiday that is observed annually on November 11, honoring people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I (major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect). The United States also originally observed Armistice Day; it then evolved into the current Veterans Day holiday in 1954.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who gave their lives and those who perished while in service.

How Many Veterans Are There?

There are 21.8 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces as of 2014, according the Census Bureau, approximately 10 percent of whom are women. To put that in context there are 319.2 million Americans, according to the bureau.

Vietnam and World War II:

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan tested the resolve of a generation with multiple deployments to those nations during the global war on terror since 2001. An estimated 2.5 million service members served in those wars, according to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America advocacy group, but they represent only a fraction of American veterans. Approximately 7,391,000 service members are still alive from serving during the Vietnam War era between 1964 and 1975, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The agency estimates that only 1.71 million Americans are alive today who served during World War II between 1941 and 1945. Elderly veterans place a heavy responsibility on the VA to provide for their health, welfare and employment needs.

Health Care and PTSD:

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers health and welfare services to veterans but has fallen short in its task of serving the mental and physical needs of generations of former troops. The Obama administration raised the VA budget from $100 billion in 2009 to $163.9 billion for 2014, but some critics including the IAVA advocacy group have said that money is not being efficiently spent to manage the agency’s 150 hospitals and 820 outpatient clinics.

Veteran Small Business:

Leadership skills and discipline gained in the military make troops more likely than civilians to become entrepreneurs or small business owners. Veterans accounted for 9.1 percent of U.S. business owners in 2012, which shrank from 10.7 percent in 2008, according to the Small Business Administration. That’s a pretty high rate considering that only about 9 percent of U.S. adults are veterans. The shrinking rate may be due to the aging and retirement of the veteran population

Veteran Employment:

Health problems and lack of nonmilitary job training can make finding a job after leaving the armed forces difficult despite partnerships between companies to hire veterans. There were 722,000 unemployed veterans in 2013, 60 percent of whom were older than age 45, while 35 percent were between the age of 25 to 44, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Veterans of past service eras may have a lower unemployment rate because retirement and health disability are lowering their labor participation rate. The jobless rate for veterans of all ages as of October was 4.5 percent, compared with the 5.8 percent for the overall civilian population.

Veteran Homelessness:

Because of a lack of affordable health treatment and job prospects, veterans represent about 12 percent of America’s homeless population, and approximately 50,000 veterans are homeless each night, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The number of homeless veterans has declined by 33 percent since the depths of the recession in 2010 in part because of treatment and welfare efforts, the department reports.

Was It Worth It?

After experiencing the personal and professional struggles of returning to civilian life 89 percent of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 said they made the right choice joining the military, according to a poll published in April by The Washington Post in association with the Kaiser Family Foundation. All veterans sacrificed something for the U.S. no matter where they served, so please honor their dedication this Veterans Day!

 Tom Risen is a technology and business reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at