Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Facts About Veterans

Every year on November 11th we celebrate Veterans Day to thank those who put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we enjoy. Based on the latest data, there are 17.4 million American men and women that are veterans. They represent nearly 7% of the total civilian population.

In this blog, we compare the demographic and housing characteristics of veterans with those of the general population. We find that veterans are older, whiter, have a higher income, and a lower unemployment rate compared to the population as a whole. In regard to the characteristics of veteran homeowners, we find that veterans have a higher homeownership rate, buy their home later in their life, own less expensive but newer homes and fewer of them are still financing their home compared to the total population.


Parsing out by race, we find that there are more racial disparities among veterans. Specifically, more than 81% of veterans are white, 12% Black, 2% Asian, and 7% Hispanic. However, among the total U.S. population, 72% of people are white, 13% Black, 6% Asian, and 18% Hispanic.

Veterans are relatively older than the general U.S. population. About 50% of veterans are older than 65 compared with 21% of the total population. As a result, the median age of veterans is nearly 65 while the age of the total U.S. population is 39.

Veterans have a higher income since veterans tend to be older. In 2019, veterans earned nearly $10,000 more than the total population. Specifically, the median income for veterans was $72,870 compared to $64,070 for the total population.

Finally, based on the most recent data, veterans have a lower unemployment rate. In October, the unemployment rate for veterans was 5.9% compared to 6.9% for the population as a whole.

Housing characteristics

Veterans have a higher homeownership rate. In 2019, 77% of veterans owned a home compared to 64% which is the homeownership rate for the total population.

In the meantime, we find that veterans buy their home later in life. Since veterans are older than the typical American, they are also expected to buy homes at an older age. Specifically, the median age of veteran owners is 69 compared to 58 for the total population.

Although veterans buy newer homes, they buy less expensive homes than those that the typical American purchases. The median home value of homes that were purchased from veterans was $230,000 compared to $242,000, which was the value of homes purchased from the typical American.

Finally, since veterans have a higher income and own less expensive homes, fewer of them are still financing their home purchase. 54% of veterans’ homeowners have mortgages compared to 62% of total homeowners.

Based on several studies, military service has a positive effect on homeownership and household income. Thus, we identified the counties with the highest concentration of veterans and veteran homeowners.

Hover over the maps to see how many of the people and owners are veterans: