The best (and worst) cities for veterans ranked

Matt Saintsing
November 07, 2017 - 1:02 pm

Making the transition back to civilian life for veterans can be challenging to say the least. Some choose to move back home to pick up where they left off while others make a complete change by moving to uncharted territory. With so many options available which cities are best for vets?

A new WalletHub study, an online financial website, compared 100 of the largest US cities based on 17 elements of livability, affordability, and “veteran friendliness.”

So, which cities are the best bet for veterans? Here are the top five:

  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  3. Virginia Beach, Virginia
  4. Raleigh, North Carolina
  5. Plano, Texas

All 100 cities were ranked based on employment prospects, and economy, but, also took into account the number of veteran-owned business, and projected growth of its veteran population. The study also includes the number of Veterans Affairs facilities in a city relative its veteran population, and the quality of VA care.

Based on those measures, the worst cities for vets are Detroit, Michigan; Newark, New Jersey; Baltimore, Maryland; Hialeah, Florida; and Memphis, Tennessee.

The study notes that while unemployment and homelessness have declined for veterans across the country, the same isn’t true for the entire nation.

There are some surprises. Notably, while Miami is rated highest for veteran income growth, Hialeah, just 13 miles north, has the lowest. The two cities have the lowest veteran population of all municipalities dragging their rankings down.

Detroit rounded out the list at dead last. Factors contributing to the Motor City's dead-last ranking is quality of life, which is ranked 99th. The category also examined veteran population, projected veteran growth, family-friendliness, and retiree friendliness.

When transitioning into a new career, choosing the right college, or simply making a change after the military, this study may help inform the choices some vets make as they pick a new place to put down roots.