skip to content
Primary navigation

Metro Region

twin-cities-mapThe Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area is a national leader in finance, advanced manufacturing, agriculture and retailing.

Medical devices, electronics and processed foods are strong suits recognized globally.

Want the freshest data delivered by email? Subscribe to our regional newsletters.

Veterans in the Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA

11/8/2022 9:00:00 AM

Tim O'Neill

On Friday, November 11, we recognize and honor military veterans across the state of Minnesota and the United States. This month, we'll look at veterans in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), including a breakdown of veterans by period of service, and how veterans contribute to the region's labor market. We'll also look at resources that veterans can utilize through the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and CareerForce.

Veterans by Period of Service in the Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA

According to the latest 2021 American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year estimates, the Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA has an estimated 154,125 veterans. As such, veterans make up approximately 5.5% of the region's total population 18 years of age and older. When reporting period of service, most veterans in the region report serving during the Vietnam Era, with a significant number also reporting serving either during the first or second Gulf Wars (Figure 1).

Over the past decade, between 2011 and 2021, the number of veterans in the Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA decreased by nearly 47,900 people. The share of older veterans has greatly declined over this period, with World War II veterans passing on. For example, WWII veterans represent about 1.5% of the region's total veterans today, where they accounted for about 8.5% in 2011. Korean War veterans represent about 6.2% of the region's total veterans today, where they accounted for about 11.8% in 2011. And while the share of Vietnam Era veterans has remained similar over the past decade, the 55,344 such veterans in 2021 is over 20,200 less than in 2011.

Whether serving in WWII or more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan or serving in the military without deployment in a conflict, veterans in the region are highly educated. As of 2021, nearly all veterans (96.2%) 25 years of age and older reported having a high school diploma/GED or higher. Over two-thirds (69.8%) reported having some level of postsecondary education, with nearly one-third (31.6%) having a bachelor's degree or higher.

These highly educated veterans are participating in the region's labor market. In 2021, 83.9% of veterans between the ages of 18 and 64 years reported participating in the labor market. That's equivalent to approximately 60,240 veterans.

While veterans are highly educated and participating in labor market at a high rate, the number of unemployed veterans in the Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA did increase from about 1,660 in 2019 to 2,190 in 2021. DEED's CareerForce services are available to assist those unemployed veterans looking for work opportunities in the region and state.

For More Information

Contact Tim O'Neill, Labor Market Analyst, at

back to top