The United States suffered through the worst terror attack in its history on Sept. 11, 2001. From the Pentagon and the World Trade Center to a field outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the attacks left 3,400 people dead. The events of that day also spawned a new era in U.S. foreign policy – one that would lead to thousands more American deaths in the coming decades.
Less than one month after the 9/11 attacks, the War on Terror began when the U.S. and NATO allies started military strikes in Afghanistan. Then, in 2003, the War on Terror escalated further, when the U.S. launched an invasion of Iraq.
Though the ongoing War on Terror achieved several goals, including the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and regime change in Iraq, the results came at a steep price. Since the first American was killed in Afghanistan in October 2001, nearly 6,900 Americans – serving in military, intelligence, and civilian capacities – from all 50 states have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A reported 254 people from Illinois died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan of the last two decades, accounting for 3.7% of all deaths among the 50 states. Of those deaths, 165 were connected to the war in Iraq and the remaining 89 to the war in Afghanistan. Not all those reported as killed in these wars died in combat situations. Some of the deaths listed were caused by accidents like aircraft crashes, as well as friendly fire incidents, illness, and suicide.
Illinois is home to 103,626 veterans who served in the post 9/11 era, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.
All fatality data in this story was compiled by iCasualties, a website that tracks the death toll from the post 9/11 wars.
RankStateTotal deaths in post 9/11 warsTotal Iraq War deathsTotal Afghanistan War deathsCivilian veterans who served post 9/111California755486269332,5312Texas617426191460,4663Florida356203153302,1204New York306199107116,0105Pennsylvania29419896117,7476Ohio27918891123,0407Illinois25416589103,6268Michigan2311636886,4409Georgia21814474173,39710Virginia21513877231,04711North Carolina19611284166,39812Washington1539558136,01413Indiana152965666,92414Arizona1519952112,42215Missouri146915573,57316Tennessee144984698,29517Oklahoma133795464,80718Massachusetts132805239,79119New Jersey131824953,19620Maryland1288147102,95121Louisiana127903752,67722Wisconsin124893559,40923Kentucky115714451,78024Oregon108743452,01125Colorado1076938106,90326Alabama106733381,86327South Carolina101604189,61828Minnesota98683049,21729Arkansas92632943,68430Kansas78502839,73031Mississippi77542339,49232Iowa73492433,02233Nebraska62461627,27934New Mexico58421627,40235Nevada55361950,60237Utah52252735,32336Connecticut52322028,06438Idaho50331733,47939Maine47242320,01240Hawaii43291429,19941West Virginia41261520,21842New Hampshire40231717,19943Montana3829921,25144South Dakota2620612,59146Vermont252145,59645Alaska2517821,75947Wyoming221579,60149North Dakota2014611,72848Rhode Island2012810,29350Delaware1714313,130