Best Cities for Veterans

Veterans starting the post-service phase of their lives face a unique set of opportunities and challenges.veterans from the marines army air force and navy

On the one hand, the post-9/11 G.I. Bill can help with getting a college education.  On the other hand, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that veterans between the ages of 25 and 34 have unemployment rates nearly 4 points higher than comparable civilians.

Working with USAA Insurance and, we decided to shed some light on this issue by determining the Best U.S. Cities for Veterans.

Out of 379 major U.S. metro areas, here’s the top 10:

  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Phoenix, AZ
  3. Dallas, TX
  4. Cleveland, OH
  5. Atlanta, GA
  6. Warren, MI
  7. Ann Arbor, MI
  8. Cincinnati, OH
  9. Columbus, OH
  10. St. Louis, MO

Each of the variables was weighted based on what soon-to-be or recent veterans said was important to them, and each metro area was then ranked based on its total points for all variables.

Here’s the criteria we considered:

  • Military skill-related jobs
  • Presence of colleges/universities
  • Economic stability
  • Mass transit availability
  • Crime level
  • Unemployment rate
  • Volume of DoD conracts
  • Health resources
  • Affordability
  • Property Tax
  • Local schools
  • Airport proximity
  • Recent job growth
  • Recreation
  • Sales tax
  • Climate
  • Number of federal government jobs

Metro areas with the following attributes were excluded from the list: unemployment rate more than 1% above the national average, cost of living greater than the national average and total crime rate more than 25% above the national average.  You can check out the study on USAA’s site here.


5 Replies to “Best Cities for Veterans”

  1. Bert, we have read all cities and suggested places. We have no family to speak of,but have daughter with gifts/and needs. Where to start over. late 60’s husband has Of and we need friendly, but great transportationlike South or coastal a link for seniors with like kids still living in the home but need great r as I’ll or like

  2. Bert,
    Looking for the best place to retire is a very specifically unique experience, given that retirees have their own health issues or veterans issues. Recently, I observed a ” Best” list from USAA that Pittsburgh was #1;
    that was a cruel joke given that I need a decent VAMC and Pittsburgh is under investigation for many deaths due to Legionnaire’s Disease. There is a V.A. rating system that USAA must have overlooked, Phoenix V.A. was no better ! But I find the most troubling issues, as to where to live safely, in the areas that I research, Environmental and Sustainability Science, where so many States have ignored the dangers of fracking, proximity to nuclear reactors, acid rain, continual CO2 levels rising, pesticide use, and the emergence of new RNA virus’s. Malaria is back with a vengeance. Right now, we are working on the colony collapse bee disorder and bat fungus, both of which will effect our food supplies in the future. It would seem to me that extreme weather also is a factor in where you retire….i.e., wildfires, flooding, breakdown of infrastructures, all key items to consider in retiring today and weather that has become unpredictable. Oregon is great, and as a military retiree, and now disabled, I think Seattle is fine despite the drizzle. I wish your next book will embrace climate change factors, shortages of food and water, quality hospitals, quality V.A. hospitals ( web site )….thank you for helping all retirees find safety, comfort, and dignity in wherever they retire.
    Greg Warren

    1. Hi Greg,
      You provided a great list of factors related to safety and security. I’d like to add a couple of others that are especially important these days; flooding and persistent long-term drought.
      I’ll try to stay on top of the all the new information that’s becoming more available to provide information for your decision-making.
      I’m especially appreciative of the new hospital and nursing home ratings being collected and provided by the Department of Health and Human Services.

      > thank you for helping all retirees find safety, comfort, and dignity in wherever they retire.
      That’s the nicest thing I can imagine. I’m very grateful that I have the opportunity to provide some help and guidance.
      Thanks very much!

  3. Also, to add to Alex’s comment, Syracuse University is Veteran friendly and also has a entrepreneur bootcamp and programs for veterans through the Whitman School of Management and University College.

    There is a Air National Guard Base just north of the city, which has a small BX. Fort drum is about an hour and 15 minutes away and there is a Coast Guard Station in the metro area in Oswego. There is also a Naval and Marine Reserve station near the ANG Base. Housing is affordable in the area and Veterans gets a STAR rebate(property tax exemption) through NY State. Veterans pensions are not taxed in NY State either.

  4. Thanks for the info, I appreciated that. Here in Syracusen N.Y. there is a Veteran’s Hospital and facility which is part of the general Syracuse Medical Complex within a mile of my home. It’s good to know when I’m traveling about what comparable areas are available to me. Thanks again.
    Alex Frazier

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