Supporting Veterans in Massachusetts

An Assessment of Needs, Well-Being, and Available Resources

Supporting Veterans in Massachusetts

Interactive Data Tool and Directory of Resources

This tool was designed to complement the RAND report Supporting Veterans in Massachusetts: An Assessment of Needs, Well-Being, and Available Resources, commissioned by The Klarman Family Foundation. The goal is to enable stakeholders to explore the data we have gathered to help inform their efforts to support veterans in Massachusetts.

Learn more about the study's methodology, findings, and conclusions

Exploring the Data

Below, we present three interactive visualizations reflecting data from three different information sources. The Resources tool provides information about organizations that serve Massachusetts veterans and their families. You can sort the organizations by region or category. The Census tool, with multiple tabs across the top, displays data from the American Community Survey. These data are nationally representative and are useful for comparing statistics between regions. The Survey tool has tabs displaying data from RAND’s survey of Massachusetts veterans and National Guard/reserve (NG/R) members. These data explore areas of unmet need.

Please view the user's guide for tips, tricks, and more information about exploring the visualizations.

We recommend using a desktop or laptop computer for the best viewing experience.

Resource List

This is a searchable database of the table found in the full report (Appendix B). Each organization was identified through the MassVetsAdvisor directory and/or stakeholder input, and the symbols indicate the type of resources or services that the organization claims to offer for veterans, service members, and/or their families in Massachusetts. The guide can be searched alphabetically, by region, or by type of resource.

Census Analysis

To learn more about Massachusetts veterans and service members, we analyzed nationally representative data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Three tabs include maps, financial information, and an option to explore the data and compare the characteristics and well-being Massachusetts veterans and service members by region or gender.

RAND Survey of Veterans

To supplement the census data analysis, we conducted a web-based survey of more than 900 veterans and NG/R members. In addition to demographic information, we asked participants about various aspects of their education, employment, health, social support, housing, and finances, and we included questions about their use and perceptions of services targeting Massachusetts veterans and service members. You can explore these data by affiliation and service era, age category, marital status, race and ethnicity, region, sex, and primary language. We present tabs focusing on survey respondents, regional variation, resource use, and some key topics. In the final tab, you can select any survey topic to explore in greater detail.

Data Sources Used in This Tool

Resource List

Using the MassVetsAdvisor resource directory and input from stakeholders, we identified 216 unique resources and organizations serving veterans, service members, and their families in Massachusetts. This includes offerings from veteran service organizations, government programs, academic institutions, military programs, health care delivery organizations, and private organizations.

Census Data: American Community Survey (ACS)

The ACS is a mandatory, nationally representative annual survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau that collects information about the geographic, demographic, and socioeconomic characteristics of the U.S. population. These data include veteran status, service era, and an indicator of service-connected disability. In the ACS, veterans are defined as those who have “ever served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, military Reserves or National Guard.” This definition of veteran includes those who currently serve in the armed forces, including National Guard or reserve members who have been activated, but it excludes those who were on active duty only for training in the National Guard or reserves. The ACS is designed to be representative at the subnational geographic levels of state and public use microdata areas (PUMAs). (PUMAs are substate geographic areas that contain at least 100,000 people. They are built on census tracts and counties, contain geographically contiguous areas, and do not cross state borders.) The PUMAs in Massachusetts can be aggregated for the state- and region-level analysis. Our analysis used the 2014 ACS five-year sample that included the years 2010–2014.

RAND Survey

We recruited respondents by working with stakeholders to distribute information about the survey and invite veterans and service members to participate. We contacted 152 stakeholders, including officials from the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services, the National Guard Family Program of Massachusetts, state and national veteran service organizations, and state and local nonprofit organizations serving the military community. We asked stakeholders to share the survey link through email, social media, and events, and we sent weekly reminders to continue advertising the survey’s availability. The survey was fielded in June 2016 and was open for seven weeks. A total of 1,146 individuals accessed the survey, and 968 of these responses were used in our analyses. Survey respondents were weighted by age category (17–34, 35–64, 65+), region (central, Metro Boston, southeast, western), gender (male, female), and service status (veteran, service member, NG/R) based on the demographic characteristics reported in the ACS.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact us at massvetdataviz@rand.org