Veteran Population and Economic Impact Growing Again in North Carolina
More military veterans are choosing to make North Carolina their home, thanks, in part, to efforts by Governor Pat McCrory to make North Carolina the most veteran friendly state in the nation.
“Veterans come to North Carolina with a desirable skill set,” Governor McCrory said. “They’re leaders, they know how to get a job done and they are disciplined. Veterans are a major asset to our economy and many will go on to be respected leaders in our communities and state.”
North Carolina now has the 8th largest veteran population in the country according to statistics in a new report released today by the new Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
The increase in veterans is also a boom to the state’s economy. Federal expenditures on North Carolina veterans grew 12 percent in 2014 to $8.2 billion, an increase of $1 billion compared to 2013. These expenditures include direct compensation and pension payments, medical care and education, training and employment.
Now at approximately 775,000, North Carolina’s veteran population is growing again, reversing a decline from 2000-2011. During that same time period, neighboring states of South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia experienced healthy increases in their veteran population.
To help attract and keep more veterans in North Carolina, Governor McCrory fought for and won many legislative initiatives such as in-state tuition, veteran treatment courts and streamlining the state’s professional licensure process for vets who had applicable military training and experience.
“If you can drive a truck in Afghanistan, surely you can handle the roads in North Carolina,” Governor McCrory said.
Additionally, the governor overhauled the state’s veteran’s services agency and won legislative approval to create the new Cabinet-level Department of Military and Veteran’s Affairs.
“In 2013, Governor Pat McCrory tasked us to become the most veteran friendly state in America,” said Secretary of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Cornell Wilson. “As a result, the agency has achieved record setting performance and clearer transparency and is now effectively tracking veteran trends and agency performance.”
Outreach is a major priority of the new department.
“In 2014, we operated only 13 Veterans Service Offices, and by spring, we will have significantly increased that number to 22 at no additional cost to tax payers. This reflects our mission of going to where the veterans are, which includes VA medical centers and clinics,” said Ilario Pantano, the state’s Director of Veterans Affairs.
The 2015 Veteran Annual Report shows North Carolina ranked 2nd in the nation for the most improved rate of servicing veterans, 4th nationally in successful claims awards for N.C. Veterans, and for the first time ever has achieved the 8th highest veteran population in the country.
Highlights of the 2015 N.C. Veterans Annual Report include:
- #8 Nationally in Veteran Population
Veterans had been leaving the state, now they are coming.
First Time Ever #8
- 70% Growth in NC Veteran Service Locations (since 2014)
Eight new facilities opened inside of VA Medical center by mid-2016*
Asheville: Charles George VA Medical Center, Durham: Durham VA Medical Center, Fayetteville: Fayetteville Health Care Center, Greenville: Greenville Health Care Center, Salisbury: W.G. Hefner VA Medical Center, Wilmington: Wilmington Community Based Outpatient Clinic, *Charlotte: Charlotte Health Care Center Opening Spring 2016, *Kernersville Kernersville Health Care Center Opening Spring 2016. All at no additional cost to N.C. tax payers.
- $1 Billion Dollar Increase in Compensation Awards to NC Veterans (from 2012-2014 most recent measure)
2012 VA Compensation and Pension (Direct-to-Vet) $2.29B
2013 VA Compensation and Pension (Direct-to-Vet) $2.71B
2014 VA Compensation and Pension (Direct-to-Vet) $3.32B
Increase to NC veterans in Comp & Pension 2012-2014= $1.03 Billion
NOTE: Compensation and Pension payments are the direct result of the hard work and efficiency of state and county Veteran Service officers working with their U.S. VA counterparts to secure benefits that N.C. veterans have earned.
- #2 Nationally in Most Improved Rate of Servicing Veterans
- #4 Nationally in Successful Claims Awards for NC Veterans
You can read the 2015 NCDVA Annual Report here.