Brief Facts

Korean War Veteran Statistics
2000 & 2011

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Table of Contents

  • Korean War Summary
  • Office of Veterans Affairs Statistics - 2000
  • U.S. Census Bureau Statistics - 2011

Korean War Summary

  • June 25, 1950 - July 27, 1953
    • Total who served in all Armed Forces: 5,720,000
  • Unique Health Risks
    • Cold Injury
    • Lasting Effects
  • Battle Deaths: 33,652
  • Wounded: 103,284
  • Medals of Honor: 131

Statistics 2000

[KWE Note: Year 2000 facts were generated by the Office of Veterans Affairs, not the Korean War Educator.]

Dates Defining the Korean War and Era

  • Korean War (actual hostilities): June 27, 1950 to July 27, 1953
  • Official Korean War Era: June 27, 1950 to Jan. 31, 1955 (The extended period was designated by Congress to define a period of eligibility to include a period of uneasy peace negotiations following hostilities.)

Korean War/Era Veterans - Then

  • 6.8 million served on active-duty during the Korean War Era, making them veterans of the war, the war era, or both.
  • 997,000 also served during WWII, 347,000 during the Vietnam War and 291,000 during all three wars.
  • 1.8 million served in theater during the three-year period of hostilities.
  • 4 million served elsewhere in the world during the period of hostilities.
  • 36,940 died in theater during the era — 33,665 from battle wounds and 3,275 from causes unrelated to battle.
  • Of the 33,665 battle dead, 23,898 were determined Killed In Action, 2,536 died from battle wounds, 4,793 died while Missing In Action, and 2,438 died while prisoners of war.
  • 17,320 U.S. military service members died elsewhere in the world during the Korean War Era.
  • More than 92,100 U.S. military service members were wounded in theater, some multiple times, accounting for more than 103,200 incidents in which U.S. personnel were wounded.
  • 8,176 are listed as Missing In Action (bodies not recovered). This number is subject to change as remains are identified.
  • 7,140 were POWs, of whom 4,418 returned, 2,701 died in captivity, and 21 refused repatriation.
  • 131 have been recipients of the Medal of Honor.

Korean War/Era Veterans - Now (in mid-calendar year 2000):

  • There are approximately 3.9 million Korean War Era veterans in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, down about 21 percent from the nearly five million living in 1990.
  • Korean War Era veterans make up nearly 16 percent of the 24.4 million total living veterans.
  • Approximately 86,000 are women.
  • Some 848,000 also served in other wartime periods.
  • The median age of Korean War Era veterans is 69, with 336,500 under age 65, 3.25 million age 65 to 74, and 363,600 age 75 or older.
  • The five states with the most Korean War Era veterans are California (431,000); Florida (294,000); Texas (243,000); New York (220,000); and Pennsylvania (201,000). The numbers reflect the geographic distribution of the overall general veteran population.

March 1999 Current Population Survey:

  • The median personal income of male Korean War Era veterans in calendar year 1998 was $24,000, compared to $17,900 for male non-veterans age 65 to 74. Their respective median family incomes were $38,000 and $31,100.
  • About 36 percent of male Korean War Era veterans had a family income below $30,000, while 35 percent had a family income in excess of $50,000.
  • The respective percentages for non-veteran males age 65 to 74 were 48 percent under $30,000 and 29 percent with $50,000 or more.
  • About 18 percent of Korean War Era veterans had less than a high school education, while nearly half had at least some college. For male non-veterans 65 to 74, the comparable percentages were 33 and 37 percent, respectively.
  • Nearly 30 percent of male Korean War Era veterans had jobs, but the remainder were no longer in the labor force. Among male non-veterans age 65 to 74, 20 percent had jobs and 80 percent were no longer in the work force.

Between July 1999 and June 2000:

  • An estimated 117,600 Korean War Era veterans died. Their number is projected to decrease by nearly half from the 1990 Census count of 4.9 million to 2.5 million in 2010.

Korean War/Era Veterans and Health Care (according to VA’s Patient Treatment File and the Outpatient Census for FY 99):

  • Of all unique inpatients discharged from VA medical centers, 58,400, or 16 percent, were Korean War Era veterans.
  • Of all VA hospital inpatient discharges, 95,000 were Korean War Era veterans. (Note: a unique patient may have more than one discharge from a hospital during the fiscal year.)
  • Of all unique patients treated in outpatient clinics, 466,700, or 15 percent, were Korean War Era veterans.
  • There were about 35 million visits to VA outpatient facilities in FY 1999. Of these, 5.1 million, or 15 percent, were by Korean War Era veterans.

According to the March 1999 Current Population Survey:

  • Nearly 75 percent of Korean War Era veterans percent had some kind of private health insurance coverage, only 3 percent had no health insurance and 22 percent had Medicare or Medicaid only.
  • Three-fourths of Korean War Era veterans described their health as "good," very good," or "excellent," compared to 66 percent of male non-veterans age 65 to 74.
  • Only 9 percent of Korean War Era veterans described their health as "poor," compared to 11 percent of their non-veteran counterparts.

Korean War/Era Veterans and VA Benefits

  • Of 2.3 million veterans receiving service-connected compensation at the end of March 2000, 172,600 were Korean War Era veterans.
  • Of the 370,200 veterans receiving non-service-connected pensions at the end of March 2000, 86,300 were Korean War Era veterans.
  • Of the nearly 605,900 dependents of veterans receiving survivors' benefits at the end of March 2000, 71,000 were survivors of Korean War Era veterans. More than 90 percent of the 71,000 were surviving spouses.

By the end of FY 1999, a cumulative total of:

  • About 2.4 million Korean War Era veterans received education and training under the Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1952 — the Korean Conflict GI Bill. Of these, 1,213,000 received training in institutions of higher learning; 860,000 were trained in other schools; 223,000 received on-the-job training; and 95,000 received institutional on-farm training.
  • More than 1.8 million Korean War Era veterans have used VA's Home Loan program to purchase homes, for which VA guaranteed more than $32 billion in mortgage loans.
  • Nearly 79,000 disabled Korean War veterans have received vocational rehabilitation training through VA, which helped them find new jobs because their disabilities prevented them from resuming their former jobs.
  • More than 803,000 Veterans Special Life Insurance (VSLI) policies for Korean War Era veterans with a "face value" (death benefit) of $7.4 billion. Currently there are some 234,000 VSLI policies in-force with a face value of $2.7 billion. VA paid $184 million to VSLI beneficiaries in 1999.
  • 9,800 Korean War veterans were interred in VA national cemeteries, representing 18 percent of all VA interments of veterans in FY 1999.
  • In FY 1999, VA provided more than 60,000 headstones or markers for the graves of Korean War Era veterans not in cemeteries managed by VA.

U.S. Census Bureau Statistics - 2011

  • The number of military veterans in the United States: 21.5 million
  • The number of female veterans: 1.6 million
  • Minority veterans:
    • Black - 2.3 million
    • Hispanic - 1.2 million
    • Asian - 264,l695
    • American Indian or Alaska Native: 153,223
    • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander: 27,469
    • Non-Hispanic white - 17.2 million
      [Note: The numbers for blacks, Asians, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, and non-Hispanic whites cover only those reporting a single race.] - Source: 2011 American Community Survey
  • The number of veterans 65 & older: 8.2 million
  • The number of veterans under age 35: 1.8 million
  • When they served:
    • Vietnam-era - 7.5 million
    • Gulf War (representing service from August 2, 1990 to present): 5.1 million
    • World War II (1941-1945): 1.8 million
    • Korean War (1950-53): 2.4 million
    • Peacetime only: 5.4 million
  • Number of living veterans who served during the Vietnam era and both Gulf War eras and no other period: 7.5 million
  • Other living veterans who served during three wars:
    • •43,942 served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam era.
    • Living veterans who served during two wars and no other period:
      •876,663 served during both Gulf War eras.
      •205,205 served during both the Korean War and the Vietnam era.
      •129,972 served during both World War II and the Korean War.
  • States with 1 million or more living veterans in 2011:
    • California - 1.9 million
    • Florida - 1.6 million
    • Texas - 1.6 million
  • Number of veterans with a service-connected disability rating: 3.5 million. Of this number, 810,245 have a rating of 70 percent or higher. Severity of one's disability is scaled from 0 to 100 percent and eligibility for compensation depends on one's rating.

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