Georgia’s veteran population appears to be better educated and more affluent than veterans across the country, according to research published recently by the Fiscal Research Center at Georgia State University.
While the state’s non-vet residents 25 and older earn about $29, 654 annually, Georgia’s veterans are averaging more than $43,000 a year, 48 percent more, according to assistant professor of economics Jon Rork, who compiled the data from the 2000 Census.
Nationally, veterans make about 40 percent more than non-veterans.
“Veterans are actually better off than the average person would think,” says Rork. “They’re actually doing better across the board.”
“To me, it’s a sign the GI Bill actually works,” he said.
Rork studied Census data on veterans in the 25-35; 50-64; and 65-plus age groups, hoping to group veterans likely to have served in World War II and Korea, Vietnam and the first Gulf War. He found younger veterans moving to Georgia earn about $3,000 more annually than non-veterans moving to Georgia. While veterans accounted for an 11 percent increase in the state’s population from 1995-2000, they accounted for about 15 percent of the increase in the state income level.
Those veterans 50-64 who are moving out of Georgia, however, are making more than those in the same age group moving in. That’s not the case, though, for younger veterans moving into Georgia. Younger newcomers are earning more than those leaving.
Rork says Georgia’s moderate cost of living may be attractive to many, and the state’s number of military installations may introduce service members to Georgia from other parts of the country. He said most of those veterans moving to Georgia tend to be younger.