War Vet Population Down Nationwide, Up in Utah

War Vet Population Down Nationwide, Up in Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The nation's population of war veterans decreased in the past decade, but the number in Utah increased during that period, according to Census Bureau figures.

In 2000, there were 161,351 veterans in Utah, 10.7 percent of the civilian population 18 and older. That was up from 146,630 in 1990.

Nationally, the number of veterans went from 27.5 million in 1990 to 26.4 million in 2000.

"It isn't surprising. Utah citizens have always contributed to the country's armed services at a very high rate," said Neil Ashdown, deputy director of the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget.

Ashdown cited the 4,000 National Guard members and 1,500 reservists in Utah who were activated for the war in Iraq.

"Utah had one of the largest active contingencies in the nation when measured by the percentage of population," he said.

The bulk of Utah's living veterans -- 31.7 percent -- served in the Vietnam era. World War II vets were the second-largest group in the state with 22.1 percent, followed by Korean conflict veterans with 15.4 percent. Gulf War veterans and those serving in active duty in August 1990 or later comprised 13.2 percent of all veterans.

Civilian veterans are defined by the census as anyone older than 18 who is currently not on active duty but who once served on active duty in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or as a Merchant Marine in World War II.

The area of Cache, a census-designated place in Cache County, has 55.6 percent veterans. Also in the top 20 most saturated veteran towns are Rockville, Kanab and Scipio.

Although the total number of veterans decreased, the number of women veterans increased nationally by about 500,000 to a total of 1.6 million.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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