Here on Veteran's Day, I was looking at the Census data on where veterans live by state. I thought this was interesting:

10 Cities with Highest Percentage of Veterans

Place -- Percent veterans

Hampton, Va. -- 27.1%
Clarksville, Tenn. -- 24.4%
Fayetteville, N.C. -- 23.7%
Virginia Beach, Va. -- 21.7%
Colorado Springs, Colo. -- 20.2%
Norfolk, Va. -- 19.9%
Newport News, Va. -- 19.9%
Columbus, Ga. -- 19.6%
Chesapeake, Va. -- 18.9%
Portsmouth, Va. -- 18.4%

These mostly Southern cities are all near major military bases, of which the South has a disproportionate share (a share that will likely grow under the base re-alignment plan).

In terms of states with the highest percentage of veterans, this favors the West. The five states with a population that is 16% or more veterans are Alaska, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming and Maine.

The states with the fastest-growing veteran populations? A mix of South and West: Nevada (which saw an increase of 31 percent during the 1990s), followed by Arizona, Idaho, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Utah, which all saw increases of 10% or more.

You can see why veterans have a strong political, economic and cultural impact in these regions.