Annual population survey compares veterans and non-veterans

The Annual population survey: UK armed forces veterans residing in Great Britain is an annual publication providing estimates on the size and socio-demographic characteristics of the UK veteran population living in households in England, Scotland and Wales.

The survey compares levels of health, education and employment between veterans and non-veterans.  

This is of particular interest to local authorities and statutory health providers in understanding the needs of the veteran population, because all of the local authorities in Great Britain have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging to uphold the key principles of the Armed Forces Covenant, which are:

No member of the Armed Forces Community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen & in some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate especially for the injured or bereaved.


Notable insights from the survey include:


There are no significant differences in reported long-term health conditions between UK Armed Forces veterans and non-veterans residing in the UK, either at national level or across the East of England. 



There were no notable differences in employment status of working age UK Armed Forces veterans and non-veterans.  It is estimated that veterans were most likely to be in associate professional and technical roles.  In comparison, non-veterans were estimated to have professional occupations.


Veteran Population

There are 2.56 million UK Armed Forces Veterans living in Great Britain.  An estimated 248,000 live in the East of England, and for the first time ever this figure has been broken down by county:

Essex: 68,000

Bedfordshire: 21,000

Cambridgeshire: 34,000

Hertfordshire: 39,000

Norfolk: 49,000

Suffolk: 38,000



UK Armed Forces veterans residing in GB aged 16-34 and 50-64 were more likely to have smoked.  This information is also presented at regional level with an estimated 63-64% of 16-64 year old veterans having smoked in the East of England, and 75-77% of veterans over the age of 65 having smoked.



Working age UK Armed Forces veterans residing in Great Britain were significantly more likely to have gained their qualifications through work compared to non-veterans (63.5% compared to 45.3% respectively). This may be due to veterans using the opportunities available to gain qualifications when they were in Service, or veterans being more likely to undertake vocational training on leaving the Services


The Annual Population survey is produced by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for the Ministry of Defence.  The survey does not cover Northern Ireland and focuses only on UK Veterans living in households and therefore does not include those who live in communal buildings such as care homes. The next publication of this survey is expected in September 2017. 

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