After returning to civilian life, many military veterans find enterpreneurship an attractive career path.
Over the past two decades, the rate entrepreneurial activity among veterans sharply declined, the study found. Though veterans represented 12.3% of all new entrepreneurs across America in 1996, they accounted for only 6% in 2011.
"What's troubling about the waning numbers of veteran-owned startups is that younger veterans now have less support from within their own community of veterans as they consider their own entrepreneurial ventures: fewer networking opportunities, mentors and funders among the older generations of vets," said Dane Stangler, Kauffman's director of research and policy, in a statement.
Kauffman attributed the drop to the aging veteran population. The working-age (20 to 64) veteran population fell from 11.2% in 1996 to 6.4% in 2011. In 1996, Korean War veterans made up 1.3% of the working-age population and a staggering 0% by 2011.
Until three years ago, veterans launched companies at higher rates than non-veteran entrepreneurs. But non-veterans surpassed veterans in business creation by 3% in 2011--out of 100,000 adults, 320 non-veterans started their own businesses while only 300 veterans did.