Gulf War Era Vets Not Especially Rural

Military veterans are more likely to live in rural or exurban communities than in large cities. With vets from the Gulf War Era (1990 to today), there is no rural bias.

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Veterans who have served since just before the first Gulf War are not evenly spread around the country. Two-thirds of U.S. counties, in fact, have a smaller percentage of Gulf War vets than the nation as a whole.

Nationally, 2.3 percent of the adult population (those over 18) has served in the military since 1990. These are Gulf Era veterans.

Blue counties in the map above have more vets than the 2.3 percent national average. (Dark blue are rural or exurban counties; light blue are urban counties.) Yellow counties have a smaller percentage than the national average. (Light yellow are rural or exurban counties; dark yellow are urban counties.)

Click here or on the map to see a larger version. Email us here at the Daily Yonder if you’d like the raw data.

Unlike veterans in general, who are spread across much of the country, Gulf Era vets are concentrated in fewer counties. (For a story on the location of all vets, go here.) More than two-thirds of U.S. counties have a smaller percentage of resident Gulf Era vets than does the nation as a whole. 

Also, unlike veterans in general, Gulf Era vets are not over-represented in rural counties. In rural counties, 2.2 percent of the adult population are Gulf Era vets. In exurban counties, they are 2.7 percent of the population and in urban counties Gulf Era veterans make up 2.3 percent of those over 18 years of age.

Gulf War Era veterans are concentrated in a small number of counties. Below is a list of the 50 counties with the highest percentage of Gulf War Era vets. 

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Many of these counties contain or are near military bases. For example, Liberty County, Georgia, is home to Fort Stewart, the base for the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division. More than one in five adults in that county are Gulf War Era veterans.

As with veterans in general, the percentages of Gulf War Era vets are small in the nation’s major cities. Gulf Vets make up less than one percent of the adult population in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami. 

Recently, the Washington Post reported that President Obama would be targeting younger veterans in his re-election campaign.  If so, then you might see the President spending time in the counties listed above.

Below is a state-by-state look at where veterans live. We’ve divided each state into rural, exurban and urban counties. (Exurban counties are in metro areas, but about half the people live in rural settings.) And we’ve given Gulf War Era vets their own column. 

You can see, for example, that Maryland has the highest percentage of rural Gulf War Era vets (at 4.6 percent). Nevada has the largest percentage of all vets living in rural areas (at 16.4 percent).

Again, as the election cranks up, this chart will be a good guide to where candidates will want to talk about veterans and their concerns.

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