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

Page one of AAPI Brief

This data brief provides key highlights for Asian American and Pacific Islanders service members and veterans. The information and statistics in this document are from various data collection efforts centered on military life, transition, employment, entrepreneurship, and higher education. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse groups in the country (their heritage traces to over 30 different countries and ethnic groups and include over 100 languages and dialects). [1]

[1] Taken from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (webpage). Asian American & Pacific Islander Asian American and Pacific Islander Special Emphasis Program. Retrieved from

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

Download The Full PDF

Key Highlights


Active Duty and Selected Reserve

Military Service

85% reported that joining the military was a GOOD decision.

Skills attributed to the military: 

Teamwork 87%
Work Ethic/Discipline 87%
Mental Toughness 83%


49% indicated they pursued a career DIFFERENT from their military specialty.

30% indicated they pursued a career SIMILAR to their military specialty.

Top 3 Transition Challenges: 

Navigating VA administration or benefits 63%
Getting a job 61%
Skills translation 48%


In 2020, Asian veteran
unemployment was at 5.1%

$ 0
Average earning for Asian /Pacific Islander veterans in 2019.
Family photo.

Top 5 industries in 2019

  1. Educational, Health and Social Services
  2. Public Administration
  3. Professional, Scientific, Management, Administrative, and Waste Management Services


In 2019, 9% of Asian/Pacific Islander veterans were self-employed. 

Current Barriers in 2020:

Lack of initial capital
Current Economic Situation
Federal regulations and policies

Top Resources:

Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC)
SBA District Offices
Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)

Higher Education

81% indicated that the military experience left a lasting impression in their education success.

In 2019, Asian /Pacific Islander post 9/11 veterans have achieved:

47% bachelor’s degree or higher

35% some college or associate degree

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

Back to top.