WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced S. 2761, the Every Veteran Counts Act, legislation that directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish and regularly update a database of veterans’ demographic data. The statutory changes in the Every Veteran Counts Act would allow VA to use best practices to keep itself, Congress, and the public apprised of veteran demographics on an ongoing basis. Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“The Every Veteran Counts Act will make long-needed updates to the way VA handles veterans’ demographic data, and provide a clearer, more complete picture of what our veteran population looks like today,” Senator Hirono said. “These changes are critical for Congress, VSOs, and other advocates to better understand the needs of today’s veterans in Hawaii, across the country, or wherever they reside.”
Previously, VA conducted national surveys once a decade to track the demographic trends of veterans. The most recent survey took place in 2010. Since then, VA has improved the way it collects data and has been able to maintain more up-to-date population-based information on veterans. Updating VA’s data practices is critical with a veteran population that becomes more diverse every year, especially as trends emerge in veteran subpopulations that demand more detailed information – like the increased prevalence of suicide among AAPI veterans.
The Every Veteran Counts Act is endorsed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Student Veterans of America, and Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Bill text is available here.