On January 13, NPR featured a story on how counties vary in terms of benefits spending for veterans. Where a veteran lives may affect how much money is spent on benefits, including health care. Whereas the national average is $6,088, the average spending per veteran is greater in the NC counties in which the VA Medical Centers are located. In terms of medical spending, NC falls below the national average ($8,731 vs. $9,840). Of the four counties where VA Medical Centers are located, only Cumberland County falls below both the state and national averages whereas the other three counties spend more on medical care (see table below).

County Number of Veterans

Veterans as Share of Pop.

Average Spending Per Veteran

Share of Veterans Receiving Medical Benefits Medical Spending per Veteran Patient
Buncombe 19,973 11% $8,077 36% $12,856
Rowan 12,005 10% $9,158 41% $13,574
Durham 15,846 7% $10,850 30% $23,152
Cumberland 47,298 20% $12,101 38% $7,092
NC 769,298 9% $6,440 27% $8,731
US 21,882,153 8% $6,088 26% $9,840


U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs spending figures include only categories that go directly to veterans (such as medical, compensation or education benefits) and exclude capital expenses (such as facilities and new construction).
Source: NPR analysis of VA data
Credit: Robert Benincasa and Alyson Hurt/NPR

The website allows readers to enter their own county to determine what the spending per veteran is like locally.

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