According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 22 million veterans were counted among the civilian population age 18 and over in 2009. About half of them served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era. Gulf War-era II veterans—those who served sometime since September 2001—accounted for nearly 1 in 10 of all veterans.
Education rates vary by veteran status and period of service. About the same proportion of veterans and nonveterans were college graduates in 2009, 27.1 and 27.2 percent, respectively. Gulf War-era I veterans and World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam-era veterans were more likely to be college graduates than were Gulf War-era II veterans, reflecting the younger age profile of recent veterans.
In 2009, nearly half of Gulf War-era II veterans had some college or an associate degree, compared with nearly 30 percent of nonveterans. Fewer than 2 percent of recent veterans had not completed high school, compared with about 14 percent of nonveterans.
Many young veterans enroll in college after leaving the Armed Forces. In the first month after separation from the Armed Forces, 15 percent of young veterans age 18 to 24 are enrolled in college. Two years after separating, nearly a quarter of veterans aged 18 to 24 are enrolled in college.