Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the Military: From Service to Civilian Life (2024)

This report was originally published in 2023 but the data below remains an accurate representation for 2024 as well. 

This infographic provides key highlights for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) service members, veterans, and their families. The information and statistics in this document are from various data collection efforts centered on military life, resource and financial needs, employment, entrepreneurship, and higher education. Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse racial groups in the U.S. (their heritage traces to over 30 different countries and ethnic groups and include over 100 languages and dialects).

Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have a long history of involvement with the U.S. military, possibly extending back to the American Revolutionary War, but there are few direct records of their service and presence in the U.S. military until the mid-19th century. Particularly in the 20th century, AAPI veterans have served honorably in all major U.S. military conflicts in Europe, Asia, and beyond.

If you are having trouble reading the screen captures below, please download the accessible plain-text version here.

View The Full Designed PDF


A Few Key Takeaways

AAPI service members and veterans are often connected to the military in a multitude of ways. They are not only service members and veterans themselves, but also spouses and parents of service members.



0 +
Active Duty and Selected Reserve
0 +

Transiton Process

Felt prepared for military to civilian transition because:

  • “Spouse has civilian employment”
  • “Had 12 months to prepare my family and I for this transition”

Felt unprepared for military to civilian transition because:

  • “We were overseas at the time for 3.5 years and felt a disconnect with American civilian life and culture.”
  • “I was a military dependent, prior to joining the military shortly after graduating high school and returning to the United States. After immediately going into the military, that sort of life is all I really knew. When it was time for me to get out, everything happened so fast due to my separation and injury sustained. There really wasn’t a transition period for me, none of the typical TAP, nobody helped me prepare for civilian life, nobody prepared me to seek health assistance from the VA or to file a disability claim. All I got was a check for unused leave, paperwork and a ride home. Not much more than that.”


  • In 2022 Asian veteran unemployment was at 3.7%
    • This is higher than total veteran unemployment which was at 2.8%
  • In 2022 Asian post 9/11 veteran unemployment was at 4.1%
    • This is Higher than total post 9/11 veteran unemployment which was at 3.1%


  • Professional and technical services
  • Health care and social assistance
  • Retail trade
  • Durable goods manufacturing
  • Accommodation and food services


  • Management, business, and financial occupations
  • Professional and related occupations
  • Service occupations
  • Sales and related occupations
  • Office and administrative support occupations


57% of AAPI veteran entrepreneurs consider themselves as a social entrepreneur.
Yet only 3% of AAPI veteran entrepreneurs have a nonprofit 501(c)(3)

Top Motivations for Pursing Entrepreneurship

Financial Independence
The opportunity to be financially independent/increase personal income
Personal Independence
Maintain personal freedom
Make own decisions
Opportunity Recognition
Opportunities to innovate
Chance to implement own ideas or create something
Work Life Balance and Flexibility
Improving quality of life
Having more free time/flexible hours

Top Barriers in Pursuing or Achieving Business Goals

Financial Barriers
Lack of access to capital
0 %
Lack of financing
0 %
Current economic situation
0 %
Irregular income
0 %
Social and Human Capital Barriers
Problems finding good employees/contracted personnel
0 %
Lack of mentors for my business
0 %
Lack of relationships with other entrepreneurs
0 %
Lack of formal network to help start a business
0 %
Regulation, Business Climate, and Policy Barriers
Lack of experience in entrepreneurship or business ownership
0 %
Lack of knowledge or education on the business world and the market
0 %
Cultural and Knowledge Barriers
Lack of experience in entrepreneurship or business ownership
0 %
Lack of knowledge or education on the business world and the market
0 %

Top Barriers in Pursuing or Achieving Business Goals

39% of AAPI veteran entrepreneurs indicated that finding a local business incubator or nonprofit that helps business owners was difficult.

Higher Education

High School Grad-Diploma Or Equivalent (GED)
Some college or Associate Degree (Occupational/Vocational/Academic)
Bachelor’s Degree (e.g., BA, AB, BS)
Master’s Degree (e.g., MA, MS, Meng, Med, MSW)
Professional School Degree (e.g., MD, DDS, DVM)

See the full infographic to learn more about in Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the military. From their service experience to their post-military life.

Download The Full PDF