An average of 20 United States veterans committed suicide daily in 2014, according to Department of Veterans Affairs data.

Overall in 2014, at least 7,403 U.S. veterans killed themselves. This is the first count of suicides among former service members, as the VA had previously only estimated suicides. In 2010, it said there was an average of 22 a day.

Though veterans make up less than 9 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for 18 percent of suicides nationwide.

In a statement, the VA said it hopes the new information will allow officials to "inform our suicide prevention programs and policies, especially for groups at elevated risk for suicide, including older and female veterans."

Those committing the suicide the most were found to be male veterans aged 18 to 29. Their suicide rate was 86 per 100,000 people. Female veterans in the same age group had a suicide rate of 33 per 100,000 people. By contrast, the overall U.S. suicide rate is 13 per 100,000 people, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The risk of suicide among veterans is 21 percent higher when compared with civilian adults. From 2001 to 2014, the civilian suicide rate rose by about 23 percent, whereas it rose by ore than 32 percent in the same timeframe among veterans. From 2001 to 2014, suicide rate among female veterans rose more than 85 percent, compared to about 40 percent for civilian women.

Full year-by-year and demographic breakdowns of the data are expected to be released in coming weeks.