Rural Veterans Less Likely to Be Poor

Rural veterans who are disabled are less likely to live in poverty, according to figures released by the USDA Economic Research Service.

More than one in five rural veterans are disabled, a figure much higher than the general rural population. But disabled vets are less likely to be poor, in contrast to the rest of the rural population.

More than one in five rural veterans (22.6%) are disabled. In the rural population as a whole, only 14.2% are disabled.

But when you look at poverty, veterans are faring better than the rest of rural America. While 11% of rural vets live in poverty, about 18% of the general rural population does.

The poverty gap is even bigger among the disabled population.  About 19% of disabled rural vets live in poverty, while a third of the non-veteran rural population does.

(The blue parts of the chart represent the percentage-point increases in each category from 2008 to 2014.)

Rural residents are disproportionately represented among U.S. veterans. While only 16% of the U.S. population lives in rural (or nonmetropolitan) counties, veterans living in rural counties constitute 19% of all veterans, the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service reports.

Below is a map with county-level data on the veterans. The darker blue the county, the greater the percentage of the population that are veterans. Click on a county to see lots more information about veterans, including the percentage that served in different eras. (Data from the map are taken from the ERS Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America.)

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