I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Veterans Day. For my previous discussions of the subject, click here and here. Today I’ll simply share some sobering but important facts to keep in mind as we honor our veterans.
- Every day, 22 veterans commit suicide, and the number is continuing to rise (moreover, active-duty soldiers are also seeing a dramatic increase in suicide rates).
- Anywhere from 13 to 25 percent of homeless adults are veterans, even though only 7 to 11 percent of all adults are veterans. Roughly 40 percent of all homeless veterans are African American or Hispanic, despite only accounting for 10.4 percent and 3.4 percent of the U.S. veteran population. Unsurprisingly, veterans have the highest likelihood of being poor or homeless out of any other group of Americans.
- Currently, 12 percent of recent veterans are living in poverty. Indeed, around 900,000 veterans live in households that rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (a.k.a food stamps).
- Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have nearly double the poverty rate of those from previous wars. Young vets are the hardest hit: 21 percent of service men and women between the ages of 18 and 24 (who make up 80 percent of recent veterans) are poor
It’s bad enough to send our soldiers off to die in fruitless wars, but to neglect upon their return is further insult to injury — and often just as deadly.