May 8 marks the 75th anniversary of V-E Day, when World War II came to an end in Europe. In the United States, V-E Day commemorations will honor the 16 million Americans who served during the war, even as only a small share of those veterans are alive today.
About 300,000 U.S. World War II veterans are alive in 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which has published projections of the number of living veterans from 2015 to 2045. WWII service members’ numbers have dwindled from around 939,000 in 2015. Most living veterans from the war are in their 90s, though some are considerably older.
Of the 350,000 women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during the war, about 14,500 are alive today.
For this post about the number of living American World War II veterans in 2020, we used veteran population projections calculated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The projections estimate the number of U.S. veterans each year from Sept. 30, 2015, to Sept. 30, 2045.
The VA’s projections show that between Sept. 30, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2020, 245 WWII veterans are expected to be lost each day. These projections were calculated before the COVID-19 pandemic and do not take any deaths related to that disease into account. The last living American veteran from the war is projected to die in 2044.
Living WWII veterans are spread around the country, and the most populous states have the largest numbers. California and Florida are each home to more than 30,000 veterans from the war. Each of those states is home to 10% of the nation’s total living WWII veteran population.