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Do Veterans Face Disparities in Larger Schooling, Well being, and Housing?

Veterans are an understudied group that types an essential a part of the material of American society and that constitutes a big section of the inhabitants. Within the first put up of this two-part collection, we’ll examine how the outcomes of veteran males–in instructional attainment, well being, and housing–differ from these of comparable males who didn’t serve within the army. Trying solely at males, for causes described under, we discover that relative to nonveteran males with a highschool diploma and an identical distribution of demographic and geographic traits, veterans are 7 proportion factors much less more likely to have a university diploma and are over 50 p.c extra more likely to expertise a incapacity. Veterans are additionally considerably likelier to lease a house than to personal and, as renters, pay a decrease common lease, suggesting they expertise decrease high quality housing or reside in worse neighborhoods.

Service within the army might carry each financial benefits and financial disadvantages. It represents a dedication of time away from classroom schooling or civilian employment throughout the very years when many individuals start their careers. It additionally carries with it the specter of harm or extreme psychological stress. Nonetheless, army service may additionally carry benefits, equivalent to alternatives to study new technical and interpersonal expertise, entry to medical insurance via the Veterans’ Administration, or subsidies to greater schooling via the G.I. Invoice.

The Information Set

We use the 2019 five-year American Neighborhood Survey (ACS), the final one earlier than the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, to compute common outcomes for male veterans and nonveterans aged between 25 and 69. This lower of the info has us trying on the inhabitants of veterans who served when enlistment within the armed forces was voluntary, after the tip of the draft in 1971. It’s a problem to assemble a comparability group since veterans differ from nonveterans amongst many dimensions. For instance, veterans are overwhelmingly more likely to be male highschool graduates because the army usually requires a highschool diploma for service. Veterans are older, with enlistment charges drifting down over time. They’re additionally extra more likely to be native-born and white, and extra more likely to have been born within the South and the Midwest than within the Northeast and the West.

Subsequently, for a extra comparable group for veterans, we take the inhabitants of nonveteran male highschool graduates and weight them to match the age, racial, ethnic, immigrant and geographic distributions of veterans. Following a earlier paper, we use as weights the fractions of the male highschool graduate inhabitants in every age, race, origin, and geography class who’re veterans. We’ll discuss with this management group as “comparable nonveterans” for the remainder of the collection. Whereas our methodology doesn’t take away all sources of variations between veterans and “reweighted” nonveterans (for instance, the veterans might differ from nonveterans in different points of their background, or in unobservables equivalent to persona or pursuits, for which there is no such thing as a information within the ACS), it avoids the obvious sources of noncomparability between them and permits us to deal with the implications of being a veteran.

Differing Outcomes in Schooling, Well being, and Housing

Regardless of gaining access to the advantages of the G.I. Invoice, veterans are much less seemingly than comparable nonveterans to pursue additional schooling after highschool. We see within the chart under that whereas 34 p.c of male highschool graduates who are usually not veterans get hold of a bachelor’s diploma or greater, solely 27 p.c of veterans accomplish that. Veterans are additionally much less more likely to finish their schooling with a bachelor’s diploma (17 p.c vs. 22 p.c) and to go on to acquire a complicated diploma (10 p.c vs. 12 p.c) than nonveterans. These variations could also be as a result of direct results of army service (together with spending quite a few crucial years for schooling within the army), in addition to to unobserved variations between veterans and nonveterans that aren’t captured by their age, ethnic, and geographic background.

Veterans Are Much less Prone to Maintain a Bachelor’s or Superior Diploma

Sources: American Neighborhood Survey; authors’ calculations.

On the well being entrance, we see within the panel chart under that whereas the proportion of veterans that’s uninsured is considerably decrease than nonveterans, veterans are over 50 p.c extra more likely to have a incapacity, with the percentages rising even greater for some particular disabilities. Because of being eligible for added types of medical insurance, solely 6 p.c of veterans are uninsured, in contrast with 11 p.c of comparable nonveterans (left panel). Nonetheless, regardless of this protection, the well being of veterans, a minimum of as measured by the presence of disabilities, is poorer (proper panel). Veterans are additionally half once more as more likely to be disabled, with 19 p.c of veterans having a incapacity versus 12 p.c of comparable nonveterans. Veterans are greater than twice as more likely to have a listening to incapacity (7 p.c vs. 3 p.c) and almost twice as more likely to have a sensory incapacity (9 p.c vs. 5 p.c). Given that folks serving within the armed forces normally must cross a medical assessment, disparities between veterans and nonveterans of their incapacity charge seemingly emerge both straight from army service or from variations in what veterans and comparable nonveterans do after the veterans depart the army.

Veterans Are Extra Prone to Have Well being Insurance coverage, But Are Extra Prone to Be Disabled

Sources: American Neighborhood Survey; authors’ calculations.

This evaluation additionally sheds mild on the housing scenario of veterans and nonveterans who both personal or lease. (We don’t think about homelessness; whereas veteran homelessness is a crucial coverage concern, there are potential information gaps because the ACS methodology of discovering respondents seemingly undersamples the homeless). Within the panel chart under, we see that the renting standing of veterans and nonveterans differs little (left panel), standing in distinction to the academic and well being variations recognized above. Veterans are considerably extra more likely to lease than nonveterans are, however the homeownership charge amongst veterans is 70 p.c, only one proportion level lower than that of comparable nonveterans. Nonetheless, veterans could also be consuming housing of decrease high quality. Veterans who’re renters pay about 6 p.c much less in lease than comparable nonveteran renters, suggesting that they lease housing with fewer facilities or in worse neighborhoods (proper panel); the identical statement about housing high quality might apply to veteran householders.

Veterans Are Barely Extra Prone to Lease, and Lease Much less Costly Housing

Sources: American Neighborhood Survey; authors’ calculations.

To conclude, we see that, when making the comparability with nonveterans who’re demographically just like veterans, veterans have decrease schooling attainment and a better prevalence of disabilities than nonveterans. The information additionally counsel veterans are in considerably worse housing conditions. Within the second put up of this collection, we’ll examine variations in earnings and labor market outcomes of veterans and nonveterans, and the way these variations could also be defined by their disparities by way of schooling and well being. Extra broadly, we’ll proceed to trace information related to financial outcomes by race/ethnicity, gender, earnings, age, veteran standing, and geography in a brand new month-to-month information product, Equitable Development Indicators (EGI). Go to our internet function for charts and temporary takeaways on disparities in folks’s expertise of inflation, earnings, employment, and shopper spending.

Portrait of Rajashri Chakrabarti

Rajashri Chakrabarti is the pinnacle of Equitable Development Research within the Federal Reserve Financial institution of New York’s Analysis and Statistics Group.  

Dan Garcia is a analysis analyst within the Federal Reserve Financial institution of New York’s Analysis and Statistics Group.

Photo: portrait of Maxim Pinkovskiy

Maxim Pinkovskiy is an financial analysis advisor in Equitable Development Research within the Federal Reserve Financial institution of New York’s Analysis and Statistics Group.

Tips on how to cite this put up:
Rajashri Chakrabarti, Dan Garcia, and Maxim Pinkovskiy, “Do Veterans Face Disparities in Larger Schooling, Well being, and Housing?,” Federal Reserve Financial institution of New York Liberty Road Economics, Could 25, 2023,

The views expressed on this put up are these of the writer(s) and don’t essentially mirror the place of the Federal Reserve Financial institution of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the duty of the writer(s).



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