The UK ex-Service community: A Household Survey

In 2014, we published the largest survey to date of the UK ex-Service community, looking at its size, profile and needs.

In November 2014 the Legion (working with the Forces in Mind Trust) published the results of the most comprehensive survey into the needs of the ex-Service community that has been undertaken in the last ten years.

Download the full Royal British Legion Household Survey

Key findings

  • Our research suggests that there are around 6.2 million people within the ex-Service community in the UK.
  • Nearly half of the adult ex-Service community are over the age of 75.
  • Around 630,000 members of the adult ex-Service community are likely to be experiencing problems getting around outside the home.
  • Large numbers (around 720,000) experience problems with self-care, including exhaustion and pain or difficulty looking after themselves. Mobility and self-care difficulties peak among those aged 75 or over.
  • Depression affects around 480,000 members of the adult ex-Service community, around 370,000 report feeling lonely, and around 350,000 are recently bereaved.

Specific issues within those of working age

The survey results also highlight a number of specific issues which appear to affect the working age ex-Service community disproportionately, compared with the general population:

  • Veterans aged 16-64 are more likely than the general population of the same age to report a long term illness that limits their activities (24% vs 13%).
  • Working age veterans report living with a number of conditions, including depression (10% vs 6%), back problems (14% vs 7%), problems with their arms (9% vs 5%), legs or feet (15% vs 7%), difficulty hearing (6% vs 2%) and difficulty seeing (5% vs 1%), at a higher rate than the general population of the same age.
  • Those of working-age (between 16 and 64) are less likely to be employed than the general population aged 16-64 (60% vs 73%), more likely to be unemployed (8% vs 5%) and more likely to be economically inactive (32% vs 22%).
  • Altogether around 700,000 members of the working age ex-Service community (aged 16-64) are currently not in work.

Download the full report

Download the full report (16Mb PDF)

Download the Executive Summary (4Mb PDF) 

Related reports

Royal British Legion Household Survey 2005

PoppyScotland: Health and welfare of the ex-Service community in Scotland 2014