The demographics of rural veterans are shifting as newly separated cohorts of younger veterans replace older veterans, and an increasing number of women serve and retire from the military.
Since the change from a conscription-based military to an all-volunteer force in 1973, the presence of women in the military has grown from less than 2% of active duty personnel to more than 14%; as a result, the share of female veterans has steadily increased.
In rural (nonmetro) counties, their share more than doubled from the end of Gulf War I (1990-1991) to the present, rising from 3.0% in 1992 to 6.3% in 2013.
Over 40% of rural female veterans served during Gulf Wars I and II (2003-2011), compared with less than 5% of rural male veterans, reflecting a more youthful rural female veteran population. In 2013, 55% of rural female veterans were under the age of 55 compared to 26% of rural male veterans.
This chart is based on information found in Rural Veterans at a Glance, EB-25, November 2013.