Do veterans face disparities in higher education, health, and housing?
Veterans are an understudied group that form an important part of the fabric of American society and constitute an important segment of the population. In the first article of this two-part series, we’ll explore how veteran men’s outcomes—in terms of education, health, and housing—differ from those of comparable men who did not serve in the military. army. Considering only men, for the reasons described below, we find that compared to non-veteran men with a high school diploma and with a similar distribution of demographic and geographic characteristics, veterans are 7 points percent less likely to have a university degree and over 50% more likely to have a disability. Veterans are also somewhat more likely to rent a home than to own one and, as renters, pay a lower average rent, suggesting they live in lower quality housing or poorer neighborhoods. .
Military service can bring both economic advantages and economic disadvantages. This represents a commitment of time away from classroom education or civilian employment during the very years when many people begin their careers. It also carries with it the threat of injury or severe mental stress. However, military service can also bring benefits, such as opportunities to learn new technical and interpersonal skills, access to health insurance through the Veterans Administration, or higher education grants through the GI Bill.
The data set
We use the 2019 five-year American Community Survey (ACS), the last before the COVID-19 pandemic began, to calculate average scores for veteran and non-veteran men aged 25-69. to the population of veterans who served when enlistment in the armed forces was voluntary, after the project ended in 1971. It is difficult to construct a comparison group since veterans differ from non-veterans on many many sizes. For example, veterans are most likely male high school graduates, as the military typically requires a high school diploma for service. Veterans are older and enlistment rates are declining over time. They are also more likely to be native-born and Caucasian, and more likely to be born in the South and Midwest than in the Northeast and West.
Therefore, for a more comparable group of veterans, we take the population of male non-veteran high school graduates and weight them to match age, race, ethnicity, immigration and geographic distribution of veterans. Following on from a previous article, we use as weights the fractions of the high school-educated male population in each age, race, origin, and geography category who are veterans. We will refer to this control group as “comparable non-veterans” for the rest of the series. Although our methodology does not eliminate all sources of differences between “reweighted” veterans and non-veterans (for example, veterans may differ from non-veterans in other aspects of their background, or in variables not observables such as personality or interests, for which there is no data in the ACS), it avoids the most obvious sources of non-comparability between them and allows us to focus on the consequences of being a veteran .
Differing results in education, health and housing
Despite having access to GI Bill benefits, veterans are less likely than comparable non-veterans to continue their education after high school. We see from the table below that while 34% of male high school graduates who are not veterans earn a bachelor’s degree or higher, only 27% of veterans do. Veterans are also less likely to graduate with a bachelor’s degree (17% versus 22%) and earn an advanced degree (10% versus 12%) than non-veterans. These differences may be due to the direct effects of military service (including spending a number of educationally critical years in the military), as well as unobserved differences between veterans and non-veterans that do not are not captured by their age, ethnic and geographical origin. .
Veterans are less likely to have a bachelor’s degree or higher
Sources: American Community Survey; authors’ calculations.
From a health perspective, we see in the table below that while the percentage of uninsured veterans is significantly lower than that of non-veterans, veterans are over 50% more likely to have a disability, with the odds increasing even more for some specific disabilities. Thanks to their eligibility for additional forms of health insurance, only 6% of veterans are uninsured, compared to 11% of comparable non-veterans (left panel). However, despite this coverage, the health of veterans, at least measured by the presence of disabilities, is worse (right panel). Veterans are also half as likely to be disabled, with 19% of veterans having a disability compared to 12% of comparable non-veterans. Veterans are more than twice as likely to have a hearing impairment (7% vs. 3%) and nearly twice as likely to have a sensory impairment (9% vs. 5%). Since people serving in the armed forces are usually required to pass a medical exam, disparities between veterans and non-veterans in their disability rates likely result either directly from military service or from differences in what veterans do. and comparable non-veterans after veterans have left the military.
Veterans are more likely to have health insurance, but are more likely to have a disability
This analysis also sheds light on the housing situation of veterans and non-veterans who own or rent. (We do not consider homelessness; although veteran homelessness is a key policy concern, there are potential data gaps since the ACS methodology for finding respondents likely undersamples those without. -shelter). In the table below, we see that the tenant status of veterans and non-veterans differs little (left panel), which contrasts with the differences in education and health identified above. Veterans are somewhat more likely to rent than non-veterans, but the homeownership rate among veterans is 70%, one percentage point lower than comparable non-veterans . However, veterans may consume lower quality housing. Veterans who are renters pay about 6% less in rent than comparable non-veteran renters, suggesting that they rent accommodations with fewer amenities or in poorer neighborhoods (right panel); the same observation on the quality of housing can be applied to former owners.
Veterans are slightly more likely to rent and rent cheaper housing
In conclusion, we find that when compared to non-veterans who are demographically similar to veterans, veterans have lower educational attainment and a higher prevalence of disabilities than non-veterans. fighters. The data also suggests veterans are in somewhat worse housing situations. In the second article in this series, we’ll explore the differences in earnings and labor market outcomes between veterans and non-veterans, and how these differences can be explained by their disparities in education and health. More generally, we will continue to track data relevant to economic outcomes by race/ethnicity, gender, income, age, veteran status and geography in a new monthly data product, Equitable Growth Indicators (EGI). Visit our web feature for charts and quick takeaways on the disparities in people’s experience of inflation, income, employment, and consumer spending.
Rajashri Chakrabarti is Head of Equitable Growth Studies in the Research and Statistics Group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Dan Garcia is a Research Analyst in the Research and Statistics Group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Maxim Pinkovskiy is Economic Research Advisor in Equitable Growth Studies in the Research and Statistics Group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
How to cite this article:
Rajashri Chakrabarti, Dan Garcia and Maxim Pinkovskiy, “Do Veterans Face Disparities in Higher Education, Health, and Housing? », Federal Reserve Bank of New York Liberty Street Economics, May 25, 2023, https://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2023/05/les-vétérans-face-aux-disparités-dans-l’enseignement-superieur-la- health-and-housing/.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors.