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Honorable discharge from armed forces active duty

Codes and Frequencies

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HONDSCG indicates whether the individual was ever honorably discharged from active duty in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard. Service in the National Guard or Reserves was not considered active duty.

For the period prior to 1997, analysts can distinguish veterans (i.e., those who were ever on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States) from non-veterans using the VETSERVWHEN variable. Within the veterans subgroup, however, those who were and were not honorably discharged cannot be distinguished. The percentage of U.S. veterans in the general population who were not honorably discharged is unknown, but according to data from the Defense Manpower Data Center, 9.5 percent of the officers and enlisted persons discharged from the U.S. armed forces during fiscal year 1999 were not honorably discharged (including dishonorable, bad conduct, less than honorable, and general discharges). An honorable discharge is prerequisite for qualifying for U.S. veterans benefits (e.g., educational and medical benefits).


This variable is completely comparable over time.


  • 1997-2010: Persons age 18+.


  • 1997-2010