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States With the Most Korean War Vets

Photo Credit: flysnowfly / Shutterstock

By David Heacock

In 2020 there were about 19.5 million U.S. Veterans, over a million of which were Korean War Era Veterans, according to the Department of Veterans Affair. Congress defines the Korean War Era as June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955, and today most living Korean War Veterans are in their upper 80s or lower 90s. Overall, about 6.8 million Americans served during that era worldwide.

In 2020, about 78% of living Veterans had served during wartime. Of these wartime Veterans, the largest cohort is Vietnam Veterans, who account for 40% of the wartime Veteran population. Korean War Era Veterans are one of the oldest cohorts of Veterans, behind World War II Vets. Korean War Era Veterans numbered about 1.4 million in 2020, making up almost 9% of the total living wartime Veteran population.

With a median age of 88 in 2020, the number of Korean War Era Veterans is falling quickly, alongside the total Veteran population. The Department of Veterans Affairs projects that Korean War Era Veterans will number less than 150,000 by 2030. In 2000, there were over 4 million Korean War Era Veterans, who made up over 15% of the total Veteran population (both wartime and non-wartime). By 2010, the share of Korean War Era Veterans had fallen to 10%, and by 2020, it was just 5%.

Korean War Veterans are more likely to live in some parts of the U.S. than others. Some parts of the country offer easier access to VA hospitals and other facilities, have larger Veteran populations, and are more friendly to retirees. Across all states, Florida—which has a large retiree population—claims the largest population of Korean War Era Vets, with more than 105,000 prior service members. California and Texas also have large numbers of Korean War Vets, at 102,000 and almost 70,000, respectively.

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To find the states with the most Korean War Vets, researchers at Filterbuy analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Census Bureau. The researchers ranked states according to the Korean War Veteran share of the 80-and-over population. Researchers also calculated the current total population of Korean War Veterans, the estimated total population during the Korean War that served, and the total Veteran population.

Here are the states with the most Korean War Vets.

States With the Largest Percentage of Korean War Vets

  1. Photo Credit: f11photo / Shutterstock

    South Carolina

    • Korean War Veteran share of the 80+ population: 9.5%
    • Current total population of Korean War Veterans: 19,122
    • Estimated total population during the Korean War that served: 82,000
    • Total Veteran population: 397,649
  2. Photo Credit: Gregory E. Clifford / Shutterstock

    Arizona

    • Korean War Veteran share of the 80+ population: 9.5%
    • Current total population of Korean War Veterans: 30,400
    • Estimated total population during the Korean War that served: 29,000
    • Total Veteran population: 504,451
  3. Photo Credit: Mihai_Andritoiu / Shutterstock

    Nebraska

    • Korean War Veteran share of the 80+ population: 9.6%
    • Current total population of Korean War Veterans: 7,679
    • Estimated total population during the Korean War that served: 54,000
    • Total Veteran population: 126,951
  4. Photo Credit: photo.ua / Shutterstock

    Colorado

    • Korean War Veteran share of the 80+ population: 9.6%
    • Current total population of Korean War Veterans: 17,619
    • Estimated total population during the Korean War that served: 48,000
    • Total Veteran population: 392,116
  5. Photo Credit: Checubus / Shutterstock

    Minnesota

    • Korean War Veteran share of the 80+ population: 9.6%
    • Current total population of Korean War Veterans: 22,270
    • Estimated total population during the Korean War that served: 114,000
    • Total Veteran population: 312,843
  6. Photo Credit: f11photo / Shutterstock

    Wisconsin

    • Korean War Veteran share of the 80+ population: 9.7%
    • Current total population of Korean War Veterans: 23,812
    • Estimated total population during the Korean War that served: 132,000
    • Total Veteran population: 352,072
  7. Photo Credit: Nick Fox / Shutterstock

    Oklahoma

    • Korean War Veteran share of the 80+ population: 10.4%
    • Current total population of Korean War Veterans: 15,857
    • Estimated total population during the Korean War that served: 96,000
    • Total Veteran population: 295,304
  8. Photo Credit: Robert Crum / Shutterstock

    Oregon

    • Korean War Veteran share of the 80+ population: 10.6%
    • Current total population of Korean War Veterans: 18,029
    • Estimated total population during the Korean War that served: 60,000
    • Total Veteran population: 295,279
  9. Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

    New Hampshire

    • Korean War Veteran share of the 80+ population: 10.9%
    • Current total population of Korean War Veterans: 6,356
    • Estimated total population during the Korean War that served: 24,000
    • Total Veteran population: 99,249
  10. Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

    Idaho

    • Korean War Veteran share of the 80+ population: 11.6%
    • Current total population of Korean War Veterans: 7,481
    • Estimated total population during the Korean War that served: 23,000
    • Total Veteran population: 124,302
  11. Photo Credit: Kit Leong / Shutterstock

    Nevada

    • Korean War Veteran share of the 80+ population: 11.7%
    • Current total population of Korean War Veterans: 12,302
    • Estimated total population during the Korean War that served: 6,000
    • Total Veteran population: 221,610
  12. Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

    Maine

    • Korean War Veteran share of the 80+ population: 11.8%
    • Current total population of Korean War Veterans: 7,808
    • Estimated total population during the Korean War that served: 42,000
    • Total Veteran population: 109,567
  13. Photo Credit: Adventures on Wheels / Shutterstock

    South Dakota

    • Korean War Veteran share of the 80+ population: 12.0%
    • Current total population of Korean War Veterans: 4,565
    • Estimated total population during the Korean War that served: 27,000
    • Total Veteran population: 65,014
  14. Photo Credit: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock

    Alaska

    • Korean War Veteran share of the 80+ population: 12.1%
    • Current total population of Korean War Veterans: 1,915
    • Estimated total population during the Korean War that served: 2,500
    • Total Veteran population: 69,384
  15. Photo Credit: Mihai_Andritoiu / Shutterstock

    Montana

    • Korean War Veteran share of the 80+ population: 12.2%
    • Current total population of Korean War Veterans: 5,688
    • Estimated total population during the Korean War that served: 22,000
    • Total Veteran population: 89,660

Detailed Findings & Methodology

To find the states with the most Korean War Vets, researchers at Filterbuy analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Open Data Portal and the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Estimates. The researchers ranked states according to the Korean War Veteran share of the 80-and-over population. In the event of a tie, the state with the larger current total population of Korean War Veterans was ranked higher. Researchers also calculated the estimated total population during the Korean War that served and the total Veteran population. The estimated total population during the Korean War that served refers to the total number of people (living or deceased) that served in the Korean War based on their pre-service state of residence; whereas, the current total population of Korean War Veterans refers to the number of currently living people that served in the Korean War based on their current state of residence.