Newly released analysis from The Los Angeles Times found that California veterans under the age of 35 have a death rate that's higher than both active-duty servicemembers and civilians in the same age group. The findings shed some light on what life after service is like for young veterans.
After studying the state's mortality records, the news source reported that young Californian veterans were twice more likely to commit suicide and be a victim of a fatal motor vehicle crash than civilians in their age group, and 25 percent more likely to be involved in other deadly accidents. Suicide tended to be the leading cause of death, with 27 suicides per year for every 100,000 veterans under the age of 35.
According to the news outlet, the high death rate for young veterans typically emerges during wartime. For example, a government study conducted in 1987 found that veterans who served in Vietnam were 62 percent more likely to die in the first five years following their service than veterans who did not serve in combat.
California has the highest veteran population in the country. Nearly 2 million veterans live in the Golden State, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. More than 1.3 million of the state's veterans have served in a war.