On the Map: Where Military Veterans Choose to Live in and around San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio has a long and storied history as “Military City, USA,” and it’s no surprise that between the warm and sunny climate, friendly hospitality and reasonable cost of living so many former service members both male and female make their home in the nation’s seventh largest city. All branches of service are well-represented here, although many service members and family members from other parts of the country may have had their first introduction to San Antonio through one of its many military installations or world-famous military medical facilities.

In terms of extraordinary valor as well as service, many San Antonio veterans are famous for their contributions in theatres of combat, aviation, military medicine, and the list goes on and on. (The list of Medal of Honor recipients approaches three dozen, for instance, with many more Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star and Purple Heart recipients, some included posthumously to address previous discrimination.)

There are also dozens of military- and veteran-oriented nonprofits in the San Antonio area, as well as several veteran-oriented retirement communities.

For health care, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has two hospitals here: one in San Antonio (Audie Murphy) and a smaller VA Medical Center in Kerrville, in the Texas Hill Country nearby.

There are six VA outpatient clinics in San Antonio — Balcones Heights Outpatient Clinic; Frank M. Tejeda VA Outpatient Clinic; North Central Federal OPC; San Antonio Dental Clinic; and Shavano Park Outpatient Clinic — and five community-based outpatient clinics around the city: NorthEast 410 /San Antonio Clinic; Northwest 410/San Antonio Clinic; Pecan Valley CBOC; South Bexar/San Antonio Clinic; and SW Military CBOC.

In addition, for serving mental and behavioral health needs of veterans there are two less-formal Vet Centers (also part of VA, but staffed by veterans and they serve veterans’ family members, once the veteran has registered): one in the Northeast part of the city, off, I35, linked here, and one in the Northwest, off 1604, linked here.

There are even two national military cemeteries in the area, one in San Antonio and one at Fort Sam Houston.

A “tree map” showing distribution of veterans in the San Antonio area — darkest green is most to lightest green is least. The label shows, top to bottom, ZIP Code followed by total population of veterans, followed by percentage of veterans among residents of that ZIP Code. (Tableau map by Lily Casura.)

But where are military veterans drawn to living in and around so-called Military City, USA? The results might surprise you. Using recent U.S. Census Bureau data from the American Community Survey estimates for 2016, we mapped veteran populations from every service era across the city and included screen captures from that exercise in this article. If you want to see the full data visualization, which is interactive and provides much more functionality, including ability to focus on just one or multiple ZIP Code — hello, City Council members, veteran agencies, nonprofits and advocates — you can do this, too! — that’s linked here. (But don’t look at it on your phone, where all that interactivity is lost.)

Veterans overall

Where veterans live in and around the San Antonio, Texas area. (Tableau map by Lily Casura.)

The highest number of veterans overall is in 78251, where almost 7,000 veterans live — many from this era’s conflicts, both Gulf War I and post-9/11 veterans. Veterans in 78251 make up almost 14 percent (13.78 percent) of the population. But 78251 is also well-represented in other ways for veterans: Home to the most women veterans in San Antonio (almost 1,500) — see image that follows — more than 1,500 Vietnam-era veterans, almost 150 Korean war-era veterans, and approximately 40 World War II veterans.

Percentage of veterans among residents of San Antonio-area ZIP Codes. (Tableau map by Lily Casura.)

Highest percentage of veterans among residents? 78235 takes that honor, in District 6, with almost one in three (28.6 percent) followed by 78215, in District 1, where one in five residents is a veteran (20 percent).

Women veterans in and around San Antonio, Texas. (Tableau map by Lily Casura.)

Most women veterans? That’s 78251 again, where almost 1,500 women veterans reside — followed by 78109 (Converse) and 78245 (Bexar County), both home to more than 1,000 women veterans each.

How about most World War II veterans?

World War II-era veterans in and around San Antonio, Texas. (Tableau map by Lily Casura.)

That’s 78209, in Alamo Heights, followed by 78239 (Windcrest) and 78230 in District 8 — each with over 300.

Korean war veterans?

Korean War veterans in and around San Antonio, Texas. (Tableau map by Lily Casura.)

That’s 78233, in District 10, followed by 78209 (Alamo Heights) and 78239 (Windcrest) — each with more than 500.

How about Vietnam-era veterans?

Vietnam War-era veterans in and around San Antonio, Texas. (Tableau map by Lily Casura.)

That’s 78233 in District 10, same as for Korean war-era veterans, followed by 78204 in District 5, each with over 2,000.

Gulf War I-era veterans and Post-9/11 veterans tend to live in the same areas, at least according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Looking for Gulf War-I era veterans?

Gulf War veterans in and around San Antonio, Texas. (Tableau map by Lily Casura.)

78251, once again, in District 6 has the most, followed by 78245 (Bexar County) and 78108 (Cibollo/Schertz), each of which have more than 2,500.

Post-9/11 veterans in and around San Antonio, Texas. (Tableau map by Lily Casura.)

For Post-9/11 veterans, 78251 also leads the way, with almost 3,000, followed by 78245 (Bexar County), 78253 (Bexar County) and 78109 (Converse) — each with over 2,000.

Editor’s Note: It’s not the focus of this article, but if you’re looking for resources for veterans and family members, San Antonio and Bexar County have numerous options, some of which are mentioned at the beginning of the article. You might want to also check out this comprehensive resource, the Bexar County Veteran Resource Guide, provided by TexVet.org. (You can skim it online, or download and print it by clicking here.)

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.

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