(Photo by Aaron Burden/Unsplash)
A majority of Bay Area veterans have chosen three counties to call home.

An estimated 48,000 veterans live in Santa Clara County, compared with about 47,000 in Alameda County and about 46,000 in Contra Costa County, according to an estimate for 2019 by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The total estimated number of veterans in the region in 2019 was 255,401.

Here’s how the Bay Area counties rank by number of veterans.

1. Santa Clara County — 48,1642. Alameda County — 46,7483. Contra Costa County — 45,8844. Solano County — 33,6665. Sonoma County — 21,5146. San Mateo — 21,2487. San Francisco — 20,5478. Marin County — 9,8529. Napa County — 7,778Estimates for 2029 show the veterans’ numbers in each county are falling. For example, 18,700 fewer veterans are expected to be living in Alameda County by 2029 and Santa Clara County is expected to lose almost 21,000. The Bay Area region is expected to lose almost 100,000.

Steven Culbertson, associate director for programs and operations with Swords to Plowshares in San Francisco, suggested the decline is due to the closure of many military bases in the region since the Vietnam War. He said many veterans settled in the Bay Area when they separated from service because they were stationed here.

“They’re dying and bases are no longer here,” Culbertson said.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans AffairsSwords to Plowshares

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.