Hidden Numbers: Why Far More Women Veterans May Be Homeless Than You Realize

Lily Casura, MSW
8 min readJul 9, 2018
Women veterans are a growing percentage of all U.S. veterans, and with that comes a risk of living below the poverty line as well as experiencing homelessness. Photo credit: iStock.com.

When women service members — soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines — come home from serving their country, they may find that their country , and particularly the state to which they return , is woefully unprepared to serve them.

Let’s take a deeper dive into this — what the numbers are, and what they mean.

A look at how many women veterans there are in each state, using figures provided by VA in 2017.

There are over 2 million women veterans in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or about 10 percent of veterans, a percentage that will only continue to rise as more and more women continue to serve in the U.S. military. According to VA:

While the overall veteran population is projected to decline substantially over the next 25 years, the number of female veterans will increase both in absolute and relative terms. In FY 2015 there were an estimated 2 million female veterans. By 2020, there will be approximately 2.2 million, with growth projected to level off in 2035. By 2040, there will be about 2.4 million female veterans.

Here’s how many women veterans there are in each state, using figures provided by VA in 2017. The big five are: Texas, Florida, California, Virginia and Georgia. (All the graphics that follow are part of a series of interactive data visualizations on the Web, that allow you to drill down to your state or any states of interest. Be sure to check out that #dataviz here, but look at it on a desktop or a laptop — the interactivity is lost on a phone. In the meantime, we’ll use static graphics here to illustrate what’s going on.)

Women veterans as a percentage of all the veterans in the state. Current figures on women veteran population are from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)’s VetPop 2017; population figures for veterans total by state are from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Here’s a look at what percent women veterans represent of all the veterans in your state. Using a combination of VA and U.S. Census Bureau — American Community Survey figures, the percentage of women veterans appears to range from a low of 6.6 percent in Massachusetts to a high of 14.9 percent in Virginia. The bar chart shows more clearly the top states for women veterans by percentage —…

Lily Casura, MSW

Focused on using data as a tool in research & policy decisions. IWMF grantee. NASW-TX and Tableau Public award winner. UTSA, Harvard honors grad. Ph.D. student.