American veterans who served after Sept. 11, 2001, experienced a 50 percent drop in their unemployment rate over the past four years, but the youngest among them still struggle with high unemployment, poverty and homelessness, according to a paper released Tuesday by the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) Democrats.
Post-9/11 veterans were unemployed at an average rate of 6.0 percent over the past year compared with 12.1 percent in December 2011. They remain unemployed at slightly higher rates than the entire veteran population (4.7 percent), as well as non-veterans (5.3 percent).
But post-9/11 veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 experienced unemployment at an average rate of 16.2 percent in 2014 – more than twice the rate for older veterans and 3.7 percentage points higher than non-veterans their age. More than one in 10 veterans between the ages of 18 and 34 lives in poverty. And young veterans were more than twice as likely to be homeless as their non-veteran counterparts.
“Veterans have sacrificed their family lives, their health, and their peace of mind to defend democracy and keep the nation safe,” said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Ranking Member on the JEC. “They have experienced pain and horrors that the rest of us could never imagine. We owe it to these courageous men and women to ensure they have good jobs when they return home and to protect them from poverty and homelessness.”
Post-9/11 veterans experience other challenges. Over a quarter of them live with a service-related disability. Post-9/11 female veterans have a higher average unemployment rate than their male counterparts, as well as non-veteran females.
The paper also found that:
- Post-9/11 veterans earned about 11 percent more than their non-veteran counterparts with similar demographic characteristics.
- The unemployment rate for post-9/11 African American veterans was lower than the unemployment rate for nonveteran African Americans in 2014.
- The share of female veterans who served after 9/11 was double the share of females who served before that date.
- About 1.5 million veterans and their dependents have used GI Bill benefits to further their educations, and 30 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Another 45 percent have attended some college or earned an associate’s degree.