Veterans make up about 7.5 percent of the workforce in the U.S., and have an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, according to last month’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics – more than a full percentage point lower than the 5 percent unemployment rate for the country as a whole. In fact, last month’s data reflects a seven-year low for veterans’ unemployment. But not all U.S. cities are created equal, when it comes to employment opportunities and quality of life for veterans.
Recently, WalletHub evaluated the America’s 100 most populated cities across two dimensions, Economic Wellness and Environment, Education, & Health, to determine the best and worst places for veterans to live and work in the U.S. The 18 metrics they examined within those dimensions included percentage of military skill-related jobs, veteran unemployment rate, housing affordability, veteran population, and access to VA facilities.
These Are the 5 Best Cities for Veterans:
WalletHub Score: Overall Score – 74.84; Economic Wellness Rank – 1; Environment, Education, & Health Rank – 23
2. Scottsdale, AZ: Once described by The New York Times as “a desert version of Miami’s South Beach,” Scottsdale boasts a thriving party scene, balmy weather, and one of the lowest crime rates in the country.
WalletHub Score: Overall Score – 69.21; Economic Wellness Rank – 7; Environment, Education, & Health Rank – 19
3. Raleigh, NC: Part of the Research Triangle, the capital city of North Carolina is home to North Carolina State University. Like Irvine, it’s a planned city, meaning that it was specifically designed from its inception, instead of evolving and growing in the organic, occasionally chaotic manner of unplanned cities.
WalletHub Score: Overall Score – 68.72; Economic Wellness Rank – 9; Environment, Education, & Health Rank – 13
4. Orlando, FL: Known as “The Theme Park Capital of the World,” Orlando is famously home to Disney World, but even if the Mouse doesn’t make your heart go pitter-pat, there’s a lot to recommend living in Florida’s largest inland city, including warm weather (provided you don’t mind humidity), beaches within driving distance, and no state income tax.
WalletHub Score: Overall Score – 68.64; Economic Wellness Rank – 12; Environment, Education, & Health Rank – 8
5. Gilbert, AZ: The 12th-fastest growing city in the U.S. in 2014, Gilbert has grown from 5,717 people in 1980 to 208,453 people in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Money notes that Gilbert offers “access to nature: the city is an easy 30-minute drive to Lost Dutchman State Park, and the stunning vistas of San Tan Mountain aren’t that much further out, either,” plus gourmet food, and an adorable-sounding annual festival for dogs and their people called “Barktoberfest.”
WalletHub Score: Overall Score – 68.05; Economic Wellness Rank – 2; Environment, Education, & Health Rank – 58
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