Most served in the Gulf War or thereafter, but some from WWII remain.

Jarrett Murphy

The Bronx Victory Memorial at Mosholu Parkway and Marion Avenue by sculptor Jerome Connor.

In the metropolis of New York, there is but a medium-sized city of veterans: 138,000 in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau—or a little over 2 percent of the population.

About a third of them served in the Vietnam War era. Seventeen percent served between the launch of Operation Desert Shield In August 1990 and Sept. 11, 2001. Just under a fifth of New York City’s veterans served after the 2001 terrorist attacks. There were about 14,000 Korean War veterans in the city last year, and 4,941 people who served in World War II.

New York City’s veterans are 90 percent male, and 71 percent are age 55 or older. Compared with the city as a whole, veterans are disproportionately White (55 percent of veterans vs. 43 percent of the whole city) and Black (31 percent of vets vs. 24 percent overall). They’re more likely to have graduated high school and have had some college, and less likely to have dropped out of high school or obtained a bachelor’s degree, than other New Yorkers.

Veterans are less likely to be in the labor force than the general population, and their unemployment rate last year was 5.8 percent, slightly higher than the city’s overall rate. However, the poverty rate among veterans—12 percent—is lower than the general population rate of 14. They are about twice as likely to have a disability.

The traditional Veterans Day parade on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue was adjusted this year in light of COVID-19 precautions, but will still include a motorcade procession on Wednesday as well as other virtual celebrations, according to parade organizers.

When they served

Total NYC veterans138088
Gulf War (9/2001 or later), no Gulf War (8/1990 to 8/2001), no Vietnam Era20739
Gulf War (9/2001 or later) and Gulf War (8/1990 to 8/2001), no Vietnam Era5002
Gulf War (9/2001 or later), and Gulf War (8/1990 to 8/2001), and Vietnam Era800
Gulf War (8/1990 to 8/2001), no Vietnam Era16492
Gulf War (8/1990 to 8/2001) and Vietnam Era927
Between Gulf War and Vietnam Era only20750
Vietnam Era, no Korean War, no World War II41780
Vietnam Era and Korean War, no World War II385
Between Vietnam Era and Korean War only12133
Korean War, no Vietnam Era, no World War II13158
Korean War and World War II, no Vietnam Era158
Between Korean War and World War II only981
World War II, no Korean War, no Vietnam Era4783
Source: ACS 2019