Background. On July 4, 2019, USA Today published an article in its Money section: “There are 18.2 million veterans in the U.S. Which state is home to the most of them?”
- Veterans comprise 7.3% of the civilian population over the age of 18.
- Veterans have a higher median income than nonveterans and lower unemployment and poverty rates than those who did not serve in the military.
- Veterans have a higher percentage of people with a disability than those who did not serve.
- Four states where the number of veterans as a share of the adult population exceeds 10%: Alaska, Montana, Virginia, and Wyoming.
- Except for Montana, these states are home to one of America’s largest military cities.
- The states with the lowest share of veterans are mostly on either coast – New York (4.5%), New Jersey (4.6%), California (5.2%), and Massachusetts (5.5%).
- The three most populous states in the nation have the three largest veteran populations: California (1.56 million), Texas (1.46 million), and Florida (1.44 million). These states are also home to some of America’s largest military bases.
Five ways public libraries can help veterans
- Help veterans find out what benefits the federal government, the state government, and local government provides.
- In addition to providing free computers and resume books for all job seekers, set up a section for military/veterans re-entering civilian job markets. Which potential employers make an effort to seek out veterans? What military skills are transferable to civilian jobs?
- Offer meeting spaces for veteran support groups like PTFS sufferers, caring for Wounded Warriors, veterans seeking to reconnect with others after missing the close-knit camaraderie of the military.
- Set up a Veteran’s Resource Center with information on pre/post-deployment issues; financial/educational, health information; relationship issues, etc.
- House a Veteran’s Job Fair, or a meeting where Emotional Support Animals are available.
California has a successful state-wide program where the California Department of Veteran’s Affairs (CalVet) partners with some public libraries for veterans
to learn about state and federal education, employment, housing, health, disability and other benefits that may be available to you and your family.
These libraries offer “one-on-one consultation with trained volunteers, many of whom are veterans themselves or who have had professional experience assisting veterans, or just drop by and check out the collection of library books and other library materials selected especially for the veteran.”
San Diego is home to several Naval and Marine Corps bases, as well as home to hundreds of veterans. The San Diego Public Library has Veteran’s Resource Centers at the Central Library downtown as well as the Point Loma/Hervey Branch. The website provides information about these Centers.