New report reveals best and worst cities for veterans in 2018
An annual ranking released by WalletHub, the personal finance website, to coincide with Veteran’s Day, listed the best and worst U.S. cities for former service men and women to live in. Austin, Texas, was chosen as the best city for veterans to put down roots, whereas Detroit, Michigan, was evaluated as the worst.
The report, analyzing 100 U.S. cities, was based on four main criteria – jobs, economy, quality of life, and health.
Apart from Austin, which topped the rating, the highest rated cities in the report are:
- Scottsdale, Arizona
- Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Raleigh, North Carolina
- Gilbert, Arizona
The cities neighboring Detroit in the Top-5 worst cities for veterans are:
- Baltimore, MD
- Fresno, CA
- Memphis, TN
- Newark, NJ
Military Skill-Related Jobs
Fremont, California, and Madison, Wisconsin, tied for the top U.S. metropolitan cities with the highest percentage of military skill-related jobs. Miami (#99) and North Las Vegas (#100) had the lowest.
Veteran Unemployment Rate
Plano, Texas, experienced the lowest veteran unemployment rate at 2.4%, which was 6.5 times lower than Detroit, the city with the highest unemployment rate at 15.6%. Plano, a Dallas suburb, ranked as sixth overall best city for veterans, followed by Virginia Beach, Virginia (#7); Irvine, California (#8); and Florida’s Tampa (#9) and Orlando (#10).
Veteran Income Growth
The highest veteran income growth resulted in a five-way tie among Hialeah, Birmingham, Alabama; Miami; Reno, Nevada; and Irving, Texas. Conversely, the California cities of Long Beach (#96), Riverside (#97), and Irvine (#100) and the Texas municipalities of Garland (#98) and Laredo (#99) saw the lowest veteran income growth in the nation.
Homeless Veterans per Veteran Population
WalletHub determined the fewest numbers of homeless veterans resided in Virginia Beach (#1) followed by Birmingham (#2), Jacksonville, Florida (#3); Riverside, California (#4), and Raleigh (#5). Homelessness plagued veterans in three California metropolises — Los Angeles, Long Beach, and San Francisco – as well as in Honolulu and Atlanta.
In 2018, the number of homeless veterans, in general, dropped about five% after rising one year earlier, according to Military Times. Previously, the publication noted that an increase in veteran homelessness during 2017 reflected estimates from “before President Donald Trump took office and any of his new housing policies were put in place.”
Virginia Beach had the highest veteran population of 130.4, which was 15.3 times greater than Hialeah, Florida, with only 8.51 veterans, according to the report. Although Hialeah, a Miami suburb, rated poorly (#97) on its percentage of military skill-related jobs, it had the lowest percentage of veterans living below the poverty line. Stockton, California, with only 1.91% of impoverished former military members, placed second to the South Florida city.
Earlier this year, WalletHub ranked the nation’s best and worst states for military retirees to live. The top 10 states were Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, Alabama, South Carolina, Maine, South Dakota, Alaska, Idaho, and Texas. As this survey has indicated in previous years, red states continue to remain more military-friendly toward veteran retirees than blue states.