On Monday, communities up and down New Jersey held parades and other celebrations to honor those who died while serving in the military. Many of the state’s 473,000 veterans were among those participating in remembrance ceremonies.
About 7 percent of New Jersey’s population is veterans, compared with 9.6 percent nationally.
The largest portions of the Garden State's vets live in South Jersey, particularly in the areas around the Fort Dix, McGuire, and Lakehurst military bases and in Cape May near the U.S. Coast Guard training facility.
Almost a third of New Jersey veterans served in the Vietnam War era; about 15 percent, in the Korean War, World War II, or the Gulf War from 1990 through today, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey’s 5-year estimates, which averages data collected between 2007 and 2011.
The census data shows New Jersey veterans faring better than nonveterans for a few economic indicators. The 2011 median income for veterans was $42,942, compared with $33,524 for nonveterans. That also was the case for the typical American veteran, who had a median income of $37,463.
New Jersey veterans also had higher labor employment rates -- 79.3 percent compared with 78.9 percent – and a slightly more favorable unemployment status: 8.2 percent vs. 8.4 percent.
While more nonveterans had a bachelor’s degree -- 35.6 percent, compared with 27.2 percent of veterans -- more nonveterans also had not completed high school or earned an equivalency diploma: 12.6 percent of nonveterans versus 10 percent of veterans.
New Jersey’s vets are older than those elsewhere in the nation, the data shows. About 30 percent are at least 75 years old, while 19.4 percent are 35 to 54. Nationally, about 22 percent of veterans are 75 or older, while the plurality of vets are age 35 to 54.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey
The census data does have any information on homelessness among veterans, which is a continuing problem, but the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated that on a single night in January 2012, almost 63,000 veterans were homeless across the country, about 600 in New Jersey.
HUD earlier this week announced the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs was receiving $665,000 to provide 75 vouchers for homeless veterans in conjunction with the Lyons VA Medical Center, as part of $60 million given out nationwide to help 9,000 veterans living on the streets and in shelters. The supportive housing assistance program combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services from the Veterans Administration.