According to the Veterans Association and reported by the personal finance website WalletHub, there are over 19 million veterans currently living in the U.S. These veterans often face a host of challenges when re-entering civilian life. Despite Uncle Sam’s promises to provide health care as well as housing, employment and educational assistance upon their return from service, some cannot secure healthcare, jobs, or shelter.
To help military veterans find the best places in which to settle down, WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across four key dimensions and 20 key indicators of livability, affordability, and veteran-friendliness.
Virginia Beach emerged as one of the best cities for veterans, coming in at No. 8 in WalletHub’s rankings.
The website goes on to say that although unemployment and homelessness declined nationally for veterans in recent years, the unemployment rate did rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is that the unemployment rate for veterans has now fallen to 3.9%, compared to 4.8% for the overall population. On the other hand, veteran homelessness is still a big problem, and there were already over 37,000 homeless veterans even before the pandemic. Some states offer better conditions for those who have served our country, though.
The four dimensions WalletHub used to determine its rankings were 1) employment, 2) economy, 3) quality of life and 4) health. The website then evaluated those dimensions using 20 relevant metrics.
Within the employment dimension, the metrics used were the share of military skill-related jobs, the veteran unemployment rate, job growth, and the veteran-owned businesses per veteran population.
Within the economy dimension, WalletHub used the following metrics to determine its rankings of the best cities for veterans: housing affordability, veteran income growth, the share of veterans living in poverty, educational opportunities, the median veteran income, and the homeless veterans per 1,000 veterans.
Within its quality of life dimension, WalletHub employed the following metrics for its survey: veteran population, projected veteran population growth, family-friendliness, retiree-friendliness, restaurants that offer military discounts per veteran population, and arts and entertainment establishments that offer military discounts per veteran population.
WalletHub used the following metrics in the health dimension: the percentage of residents who are fully vaccinated, VA Benefits Administration facilities per veteran population, VA health facilities per veteran population, and the quality of the VA health facilities.
The cities across the country that ranked higher than Virginia Beach for places veterans would do well to settle in were 1) Tampa, Fla. 2) Austin 3) Scottsdale, Ariz. 4) Raleigh 5. Gilbert, Ariz. 6) Lincoln, Neb. and 7) Madison, Wisc.