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VA Cooperative Studies Program (CSP)

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National Survey of Veterans


Investigator Access

What's Available

Research data: unidentifiable data aggregated from individual level surveys

Available Documentation 

Dates Data are Available 

Data from the 2010 survey currently available, no end date

Access Criteria

For more information on data access, see point of contact and webpage.

Study Characteristics 


The National Survey of Veterans (NSV) was conducted to obtain information that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may use in planning and allocating resources for programs and services for Veterans. It also provides a snapshot profile of the Veteran population. Data collected through the NSV enables VA to:

  • Follow changing trends in the Veteran population
  • Compare characteristics of Veterans who do and don’t use VA benefits and services
  • Study VA’s role in the delivery of all benefits and services that Veterans receive
  • Update information about Veterans to help VA develop its policies

Era of Service



All Veterans plus spouses, surviving spouses, and some active duty service members

Study Design 

Cross-sectional survey

Time Period 

Six editions of surveys were sent out starting in the 1970's until 2010.

2010 NSV: October 2009 - March 2010




2010 NSV: 10,972 participants completed surveys, including 8,710 Veterans

Response Rate

2010 NSV:

  • 32% for households
  • 67% for Veterans (effective coverage rate 38%)
  • 22% overall 

Recruitment Methods    

Veterans and active-duty service members were contacted through the mail using address-based information and list-based information, respectively, and asked to participate in a web-based survey.

Two sampling approaches were used for the NSV:

  1. Address-based sample group: Participants were sent a pre-notification letter, a short screening survey, then a select subsample of participants was invited to complete the full extended survey via the web. This method was used for Veterans, Veteran spouses, and surviving spouses.
  2. List-based (pre-screened) sample group: Participants were personally invited through the mail to complete the full extended survey via the web. This method was used for active duty service members, active duty spouses, and demobilized National Guard and Reserve members.



Data Collected

  • Health status
  • Health care
  • Demographics
  • Other information related to benefits and utilization
  • 2010 NSV: Deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) / Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and combat exposure

Data Collection Methods

All contacted respondents were given the option to complete a paper or web-based self-administered survey.

Funding Source

VA National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics (NCVAS)




Statistician: Maribel Aponte,

Selected Publications 

Aponte, M., Giambo, P., Helmick, J., Hintze, W., Sigman, R., Winglee, M., Dean, D., Rajapaksa, S., Ragan, M., Shumway, C., and Manglitz, C. National Survey of Veterans, Active Duty Service Members, Demobilized National Guard and Reserve Members, Family Members, and Surviving Spouses: Final Report. 2010. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Edwards, R. (2015) Overseas Deployment, Combat Exposure, and Well-Being in the 2010 National Survey of Veterans1, Journal of Human Capital 9(1): 64-93. DOI: 10.1086/680403

More Information

1 This link takes you to a non-U.S. government website. VA isn't responsible for the content or privacy policies on that site and doesn't endorse the content or its sponsor.