by Luke Greiner
Minnesota is home to an estimated 342,388 military veterans or about 8.3 percent of the total population and the same percentage found nationally. However, across Minnesota there are counties with significantly higher proportions of veterans. The highest density of veterans can be found in the northern counties of Aitkin (15.3 percent), Cass (13.8 percent), and Lake of the Woods (12.7 percent). Counties such as Hennepin and Ramsey have a slightly lower ratio than the statewide rate.
Military veterans offer employers a vast trove of unique experiences ranging from mechanic to management. Military experience provides veterans with many advantages for employers such as a clear understanding of organizational structure, determination, and the ability to work in teams with colleagues of different backgrounds. One result is that the median annual income for veterans is higher than non-veterans in all but Wabasha, Cottonwood, and Lake of the Woods counties. Veterans in nine counties have a median annual income more than $10,000 greater than non-veterans, with the highest wage difference in Blue Earth County where veterans earn a median income of $37,721, $15,222 more than non-veterans.