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Racial Disparities in Leaving Military Service

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

According to a report by the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center, black veterans are more likely to leave military service with a less than honorable discharge than their white counterparts1. The report found racial disparities in separation statistics between 2015 and 2020. Source

A CNN review of data provided by the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs reveals that black service members are less likely to become officers and, as a result, are more likely to be seriously injured serving their country than their white colleagues. Source

The data reviewed by CNN includes a mix of publicly available numbers and records kept by the Department of Defense.

Another study found that Black Servicemembers receive over 25% of OTH discharges and over 30% of General Discharges, despite making up only 18% of separations in the military. Source

42% of service members of color in a new survey turned down an assignment or permanent change of station order because of concerns about racism and discrimination, even when they knew doing so could negatively affect their career because of perceptions of racism in the local community. Source

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