With parades, memorial services, and honorary events, Americans pay tribute to their veterans today. But the number of veterans — both nationwide and in Massachusetts — is shrinking.
A report by the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics found that the number of veterans will steadily decrease over the next 30 years.
In Massachusetts, there were 392,079 veterans in 2013, according to the US Department of Veteran Affairs. Their service spans peacetime and wartime, from before World War II to the present day.
But by 2043, the report predicts Massachusetts will have just 157,491 veterans, a drop of about 60 percent.
This decrease can be attributed, in part, to the large numbers of aging veterans who served in mid-2oth century wars and conflicts, the report found.
When did Massachusetts veterans serve?
|Time of service||All||Men||Women|
|Gulf War Era (Pre-9/11)||36,411||31,212||5,198|
|Gulf War Era (Post-9/11)||34,475||30,035||4,440|
Vietnam-era veterans made up about a third of all Massachusetts veterans in 2013. By 2043, they will make up less than 10 percent of the veteran population.
In 2013, the majority of Massachusetts veterans were over the age of 50, with nearly 59,000 veterans falling between the ages of 65 and 69.
The female veteran population, however, was more evenly distributed across ages. The report predicted that while the total population will decrease, the proportion of female veterans nationwide will grow from 9 percent in 2013 to 16.5 percent in 2043.
The report found that the proportion of veterans of color will also increase. In 2013, black and Hispanic veterans made up about 11.5 and 6 percent, respectively, of the veteran population. In 2043, the percentage of black veterans will grow to about 16.5 percent and Hispanic veterans will make up 11.5 percent of the total population.
Racial breakdown of Massachusetts veterans
|Black or African American||16,607||14,325||2,282|
|American Indian of Alaska Native||701||698||4|
|Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander||314||314||0|
|Some other race||3,803||3,100||703|
|Two or more races||5,627||5,266||361|
The largest cohort of veterans is white men who served during the Vietnam era, the report found. As they age, America’s veteran population — albeit a smaller one — will become more diverse.