As the U.S. celebrates its veterans this weekend, holding parades, illuminating buildings and laying wreaths to honor those who served, the population it celebrates is changing, as the number of World War II, Korean War and even Vietnam War veterans dwindles.
A new report from the Pew Research Center notes that those who have served since the first Persian Gulf War now make up 43% of America's 18 million veterans, or 7.8 million people. The group eclipsed veterans from the Vietnam era in 2016; Vietnam vets today make up just 30%, or 5.6 million, of the veteran population.
Fewer than 4% are from the Korean War era, and 119,550 remain from World War II, shy of 1% of the population.
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With the shifting demographics, more women, Hispanic and Black adults, as well as those under age 50, will make up larger portions of the population in the coming years. The share of female veterans is expected to be about 18% of veterans by 2048, while Hispanic and Black persons each will be about 15% of the population, up from 9% and 13% respectively.
About 28% of today's veterans are younger than 50. In 25 years, those in that age bracket are expected to make up 34% of the veteran population, according to the report
The changes come as the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs have made commitments to broaden diversity and…