By the Numbers - Aug. 19, 2013

By the Numbers - Aug. 19, 2013

1.8 million / 8.2%
2.1 million / 15.2%

Respectively, the number / percentage of veterans who are women (as of 2010), and the projected number / percentage of female veterans in 2036, according to VA statistics presented in the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) publication, Trauma-Informed Care for Women Veterans Experiencing Homelessness: A Guide for Service Providers.

Trauma-Informed Care for Women Veterans Experiencing Homelessness was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Women's Bureau (WB) as one of its many efforts to help women veterans who are experiencing homelessness find jobs and successfully reintegrate back to civilian life. This document is an outcome of a two-phase Women's Bureau project that included coordination of listening sessions with women veterans experiencing homelessness and the subsequent development of quality resources for the community-based organizations that serve them. In addition to this document, the Women's Bureau has prepared fact sheets on the subject, conducted a "Woman-to-Woman Stand Down" for female veterans and is developing case studies to further shed light on the important issues affecting homeless women veterans.

The publication presents statistics culled from research which indicate that somewhere between 81-93% of female veterans have experienced some sort of trauma -- childhood abuse and neglect, domestic violence, military sexual trauma, combat-related stress -- a significantly higher percentage than in a comparable civilian population (Zinzow et al., 2007). Additionally:


Women veterans are up to four times more likely to: 1) be younger than their male counterparts, with a median age of 47 for female veterans versus 61 for male veterans; 2) identify themselves as a racial minority; 3) have lower incomes than male veterans; and 4) be unemployed (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2006). Prior to the recent recession, female veterans ages 18-24 had an unemployment rate of 16% — double that of their non-veteran counterparts and higher than male veterans in the same age group (Foster & Vince, 2009).

The DOL publication "is designed to be used by community-based service agencies that work with homeless female veterans in a variety of settings (e.g., emergency shelters, domestic violence shelters, transitional and supportive housing programs, outpatient settings)."