Study: 2015’s Best And Worst Cities For Veterans

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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In advance of Veterans Day, a new study conducted by WalletHub lists the best and worst cities for veterans in 2015. Using 18 metrics, WalletHub ranked 100 cities in the United States for servicemember livability.

As of October 2015, there are 21.1 million veterans living inside the United States, following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unemployment for the newest veterans is hitting close to an all-time low, but 422,000 veterans are still without work, making the latest set of rankings especially relevant. The veteran unemployment rate is somewhat higher than civilian unemployment rate. In 2014, overall unemployment averaged 6 percent, but for post-9/11 veterans, the rate was 7.2 percent, made only worse for women and African-American vets.

Overall, the best city for veterans is Irvine in California, which earned an economic wellness rank of 1 and an environment, education and health (EEH) ranking of 23. Economic wellness comprises of factors like the unemployment rate, percentage of military skill-related jobs, job growth rate, housing affordability and other indicators.

EEH looks at the size of the veteran population, patients’ willingness to recommend VA hospitals and percentage of medical appointments scheduled more than 30 days, among other items. WalletHub used medical appointments as a proxy for assessing the overall quality of medical facilities.

Scottsdale in Arizona follows shortly behind with an economic wellness ranking of 7 and an EEH ranking of 19.

Raleigh in North Carolina is third.

But the rankings change when looking at specific metrics. For example, the three cities with the highest percent number of military skill-related jobs are Fremont, CA, St. Paul, MN and Madison, WI.

The top three cities with the lowest unemployment rates are Laredo, TX, Hialeah, FL and Irvine, CA. The three with the highest vet unemployment rates are Colorado Springs, CO, Norfolk, VA and Virginia Beach, VA.

Homelessness is down, though the Department of Veterans Affairs is nowhere near the goal to eliminate vet homelessness by the end of 2015. According to the 2014 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report provided to Congress, 11.3 percent of the homeless are veterans, a figure down from 19 percent in 2011.

The city with the lowest homeless rate for veterans is Virginia Beach, VA, followed by Buffalo, NY and Birmingham, AL.

But the city with the worst ranking for veterans overall is none other than Detroit, MI.

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