By: Dr. Pamela Perlich, Ph.D.
Every Veterans Day I remember back to how handsome my father was in his blue Air Force uniform and carefully shined black shoes. When I was very young my dad was a pilot in the Strategic Air Command, which was a key component of the “strategic nuclear strike force” during the Cold War. I remember that he would dress in his green flight suit with the tall black boots, pack his duffle bag, and leave the house for what seemed like forever. His homecomings are very happy memories for me.
Veterans Day provides all of us with a reminder of the many who have served in the military, their contributions to our safety and security, and the sacrifices made by them and their loved ones. Certainly the people of Utah have made sustained and significant contributions to our national defense. We are proud of our long history of being home to defense installations, operations, and service members.
We honor those with military service on Veterans Day.
So who are the veterans in Utah? The U.S. Census Bureau has released a set of infographics and data products for 2015 Veterans Day that help us understand. Included in this data release are state-specific population profiles for veterans.
Key findings in the Utah Veteran Statistics Profile include:
- The veteran population in Utah is estimated to be 143,771 or 6.5 percent of the civilian population at least 18 years old. Alaska has the highest share (13.1 percent) and New York the lowest share (5.0 percent).
- Nearly a third of Utah veterans served in the Vietnam Era (August 1964 to April 1975). About 15 percent served in Gulf War II (September 11, 2001 or later), and about 1 in 8 served in Gulf War I (August 1990 to August 2001), and about 1 in 12 served in World War II (December 1941 to December 1946). About 1 in 5 served in peacetime. Note that these are time periods of service.
- The population of Utah veterans is significantly older than the general population. Two thirds of Utah veterans are at least 55 years old, with 44 percent being at least 65 years old.
- Median income for Utah veterans is $41,257 as compared to $25,983 for non-veteran Utahns. Median household income for Utah veterans is estimated to be $65,206, as compared to $58,821 for all Utah households.
- There are 13 VA facilities in Utah. Over one fourth of Utah Veterans use a VA health care facility.
I wish there was some way to express appreciation to all of you who have served and continue to serve our state and nation as members of the armed forces. I am very proud of my father’s Air Force service. Happy Veterans Day.
The Utah Veteran Profile is online here.
The entire suite of Veterans Day 2015 products are available online.