Some Facts About Utah’s Veterans May Surprise You

By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist

“Veterans are a symbol of what makes our nation great, and we must never forget all they have done to ensure our freedom.”

–Rodney Frelinghuysen

The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey provides a wealth of information about the country’s veterans right down to the county level. The accompanying visualization and bullet points outline some of the pertinent facts about Utah’s population with past military service.

  • On average between 2013 and 2017, more than 125,000 veterans made their home in Utah, representing 6 percent of the population over the age of 18. Nationally, that share is somewhat higher at almost 8 percent.
  • Utah’s younger-than-average population accounts for Utah’s lower veteran share, since younger individuals are less likely to be military veterans.
  • Kane, Piute and Garfield counties show the highest share of veterans. More than one-in-10 individuals are veterans in each of these three counties. All these counties also have a high share of older populations.
  • Cache and Utah counties with their notable young and student populations show the lowest veteran shares — just 4 percent.
  • Nearly 50 percent of veterans in Utah and the United States are 65 years or older. These veterans most likely served in the Vietnam, Korean and World War II eras.
  • Almost one in four individuals aged 75 years and older in Utah is a veteran.
  • Women comprise only 7 percent of Utah’s veterans. However, they account for 17 percent of veterans between the ages of 18 and 34. Only 2 percent of veterans 75 years and older are female.
  • Nearly 30 percent of Utah veterans have a disability compared to only 11 percent of the nonveteran population.
  • Utah veterans are slightly more likely (34 percent) to have a college education than are nonveterans (32 percent). Only 4 percent of veterans did not graduate from high school compared to 9 percent of nonveterans (25 years and older).
  • Utah veterans are slightly more likely to participate in the labor force (80 percent) than are their nonveteran counterparts (78 percent).
  • Veterans’ unemployment rates do trend slightly above nonveterans in Utah (4.6 percent compared to 4.1 percent). However, nationally, veteran unemployment rates fall significantly below that of nonveterans.
  • Vietnam-era veterans comprise nearly 40 percent of Utah veterans. Veterans from the first and second Gulf Wars each account for roughly 20 percent of the total. Only 7,100 World War II Utah veterans are still living.
  • The median income of Utah veterans far out ranks that of nonveterans. There is a $14,100 spread between the incomes of veterans and nonveterans. Military-provided skills and discipline may provide veterans with a labor force advantage.
  • The income spread for female veterans is even wider — more than $15,300. However, as in the rest of the labor force, female veterans average less income (16 percent) than their male counterparts.
  • Utah veterans also experience a much lower poverty rate (6 percent) than their nonveteran peers (11 percent).
  • Utah veterans are significantly more likely to be white, non-Hispanic (89 percent) than the nonveteran population (76 percent).
  • Only 5 percent of Utah Latinos are veterans compared to 12 percent of nonveterans.