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How Military Veterans Are Strengthening Our Communities

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How Military Veterans Are Strengthening Our Communities

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Veterans are critical assets to the nation, and they are civic leaders in communities across the country. When they exit the military and return home, our country has an enormous opportunity to leverage their skills to strengthen communities.

Data presented in this report indicate that veterans strengthen communities by volunteering, voting, engaging in local governments, helping neighbors, and participating in community organizations— all at higher rates than their non-veteran counterparts.

Key findings include:

  • Veteran volunteers serve an average of 160 hours annually—the equivalent of four full workweeks. Non-veteran volunteers serve about 25% fewer hours annually.
  • Veterans are more likely than non-veterans to attend community meetings, fix problems in the neighborhood, and fill leadership roles in community organizations.
  • 17.7% of veterans are involved in civic groups, compared to just 5.8% of non-veterans.
  • Veterans vote, contact public officials, and discuss politics at significantly higher rates than their non-veteran counterparts.
  • Compared to non-veterans, veterans are more trusting of their neighbors. 62.5% of veterans trust “most or all of [their] neighbors” compared to 55.1% of non-veterans. Veterans are also more likely to frequently talk with and do favors for their neighbors

“Our young troops and their families have done everything their country has asked of them. Their lives have been changed forever by war, but their dreams haven’t changed at all. They want to raise their children, own a home, go to school, find work and even find new ways to contribute. Most of all, they want to be good citizens. They want to reconnect and renew their relationship to their local communities.”

-Admiral Michael Mullen, Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

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