- According to the Veterans Association, there are currently more than 19.5 million veterans living in America.
- However, when it comes to adjusting to civilian life, some areas of the country are better for veterans than others.
- WalletHub ranked the 100 largest US cities in four major categories – employment, economy, quality of life, and health – to determine the best cities for veterans to live in after leaving the service.
- The top three best US cities for veterans to call home are Orlando, Florida; Irvine, California; and Tampa, Florida.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
For the more than 19.5 million veterans currently living in the United States, where you live can be essential to your access to healthcare, good employment, and a strong quality of life.
WalletHub conducted a report of the best US cities for veterans, analysing 20 key indicators of livability, affordability, and veteran-friendliness. The study then provided rankings out of 100 for each category.
Employment rankings took into account the number of veteran-owned businesses per veteran population and opportunities for job growth, as well as the availability of jobs that utilise military-learned skills. Economy rankings considered factors such as the median veteran income and veteran homelessness rates, while quality of life was determined by analysing the veteran population, restaurants with military discounts, and more.
The study found that Orlando, Florida, triumphed as the best major US city for veterans, earning a total score of 70.35 out of a possible 100. Irvine, California, earned the highest ranking for veteran employment opportunities.
Keep reading to find out the top 25 best US cities for veterans.
25. Mesa, Arizona
Mesa, Arizona, ranked at No. 18 in the nation for employment opportunities and No. 20 in WalletHub’s economy ranking. Mesa ranked slightly lower in the quality of life and health rankings, earning only the No. 50 and No. 74 spots, respectively.
24. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio ranked at No. 81 place for employment opportunities for veterans. However, the Texas city cracked the top ten cities in the country for the economy ranking, which was based on housing affordability, veteran income growth, and other factors.
23. Fort Worth, Texas
Forth Worth ranked at No. 25 in the country for its economy and No. 22 for health among the 100 largest US cities.
22. Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska, ranked highly in the economy ranking and placed at No. 25 for employment.
21. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky, ranked No. 12 in the nation for veteran employment opportunities. The city also ranked in the top 50 for its economy, quality of life, and health rankings.
20. Madison, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin, ranked seventh on WalletHub’s list for economy. However, the city’s other scores brought the city down in the ranking – Madison ranked at No. 56 for employment, No. 25 for quality of life, and No. 64 for health.
19. Henderson, Nevada
Henderson, Nevada, ranked among the top 20 major cities in the country for economy and quality of life – the city earned the No. 16 and No. 12 spots, respectively.
18. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, the capital of Oklahoma, earned respectable scores across the board. The city, which is known for its cowboy culture, ranked at No. 21 for quality of life and No. 27 for its economy.
17. Chesapeake, Virginia
Chesapeake, Virginia, which has a veteran population of approximately 27,191 people, ranked first in the nation for its economy. The city also just made it into the top 20 cities for veteran quality of life.
16. St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg, Florida, ranked just 50th and 55th in employment and economy. However, the city scored decently higher in both quality of life and health at No. 17 and No. 19 in the country.
15. Lincoln, Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska, ranked at No. 15 in the nation for employment opportunities for veterans.
14. Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida, dropped slightly in the overall ranking, falling from No. 10 last year to No. 14 this year. However, the city’s score for economy improved by one place, from No. 20 to No. 19.
13. Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado, ranked at No. 9 for both employment opportunities and veterans’ quality of life.
12. San Diego, California
San Diego, California, ranked first in the nation for veterans’ quality of life. However, the West Coast city ranked No. 64 in the nation for employment opportunities and No. 73 for a veteran-friendly economy.
11. Boise, Idaho
Boise, Idaho, ranked third for veterans’ quality of life. The city also ranked No. 16 for employment opportunities.
10. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota, ranked No. 14 for employment opportunities for veterans. It is one of two cities in the ten best cities for veterans to not rank in the top ten for any category.
9. Gilbert, Arizona
Gilbert, Arizona, fell slightly in this year’s ranking, going from the No. 8 overall city last year to No. 9 this year. The city ranked No. 6 in the nation for economy, No. 13 for quality of life, and No. 26 for employment opportunities.
8. Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona, ranked second in the nation for veterans for its economy and fourth for quality of life.
7. Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach, Virginia, landed the No. 3 spot for economy, thanks to its ranking as the city with the fewest homeless veterans per veteran population. It also has one of the highest veteran populations of all the cities included in WalletHub’s ranking.
6. Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs, Colorado, tied with Virginia Beach and Jacksonville, Florida, for the city with the highest veteran population. The city ranked second for quality of life.
5. Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas, came in second overall in last year’s ranking. While the city has dropped slightly, it still ranks No. 11 in the country for quality of life and has a high health score as well.
4. Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina, held steady as the No. 4 best city for veterans last year and in 2020. The city ranked fifth for employment and tenth for economy.
3. Tampa, Florida
Tampa, Florida, which is home to more than 98,000 veterans, ranked fifth for economy and sixth for quality of life.
2. Irvine, California
Irvine, California, tied with five other cities for the lowest veteran unemployment rate but landed the overall first ranking for employment opportunities as a whole. The city also ranked first in the country for health.
1. Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida, earned the accolade of the best major US city for veterans. It ranked No. 3 in the country for employment opportunities and No. 10 for quality of life. It is also one of five cities that tied for the lowest unemployment rate among veterans.