The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published the first results from the Veterans’ Survey 2022, the first survey of its kind and a collaboration between the ONS, The Office for Veterans’ Affairs and the Devolved Administrations.

The Veterans’ Survey 2022 aims to understand the experiences of veterans and their families. It was UK wide, covering UK armed forces veterans aged 18 years and over that lived in the UK and there was a smaller family survey incorporated for immediate family members of veterans aged 18 years and over.

The analysis shows the profile of respondents from England and Wales was generally representative of veterans by religion, country of birth, housing situation and sexual orientation. We have assumed this applies to respondents across the UK.

ONS weighted the England and Wales survey data to be closer to Census 2021 data by age, because the profile of veteran respondents from England and Wales was not representative of what we know about veterans from Census 2021.

Comparing England and Wales respondents with veterans in Census 2021 indicated that disabled veterans were more likely to respond to the survey than non-disabled. This bias is important to bear in mind when interpreting findings from the survey (across the UK 48.5 % of respondents, said they were disabled veterans).

Across the UK, the majority (93.8%) of veterans said they lived in an owner occupied or shared ownership house, privately rented or socially rented house or flat. A small proportion (2.3%) said they lived long-term with family or friends and 1 in 400 veterans said they were homeless, rough sleeping or living in a refuge for domestic abuse.

Across the UK, just under half (46.8%) of veterans said they were employed or self-employed and 46.1% said they were retired. One in 40 veterans (2.5%) said they were not economically active because they were long-term sick or disabled, and 1.4% said they were unemployed and seeking work.

Across the UK, nearly a third (31.3%) of veterans said they felt lonely always, often, or some of the time, which is higher than general population estimates for Great Britain. This may reflect the older age profile of veterans and could also be linked to an overrepresentation of disabled veterans in the sample.

Commenting on the first release of data, National Statistician, Sir Ian Diamond, said: “From introducing an armed forces veterans’ question on Census 2021 to the results that followed, right through to the first of its kind government funded survey on veterans which launched last year, we are committed to producing high quality statistics that properly help us understand who our veterans are and their needs.

“Today’s initial findings from the Veterans’ Survey are the latest step to helping us better understand the experiences, needs and wellbeing of our veteran community. Ultimately this will help better target support and public services for our veterans.”

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