This assessment by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) finds that Southwest Pennsylvania veterans are struggling with issues pertaining to education, access to benefits and economic security immediately after leaving military service. It also finds that the region's 235,000 veterans differ dramatically in how they feel about veterans benefits and their own well-being depending on whether they served before 9/11 or after.
This mixed methods study provides a comprehensive portrait of veterans in Southwest Pennsylvania, one of the nation's largest and densest veterans communities. CNAS researchers used cutting-edge analytical tools from the Veterans Data Project to better understand the population, leveraging public data sets made available by DoD, VA, and the Census Bureau to understand macro-level trends in the area. In addition to this data, the CNAS team conducted interviews and working group discussions with individuals representing more than 50 public, private and nonprofit sector organizations serving veterans in the region, and conducted surveys of area veterans as well.