WalletHub released the results of their survey titled “2015’s Best and Worst States for Military Retirees.” The analysis examined 20 key factors to determine which states are best suited for supporting retired members of the military.
The rankings are based on three primary categories, which include access to health care, quality of life, and the economic environment. Beyond those three primary categories, Wallethub also examined access to and affordability of housing, the availability of job opportunities, the number of veteran owned businesses, and veteran homelessness.
The study found that the top five states for veteran retirees are Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Maine, and Florida. At the bottom of the list are New York, Utah, The District of Columbia, Rhode Island and worst of all, Indiana.
Despite placing fourth in terms of both healthcare and economic environment, and seventh place in terms of quality of life, Wyoming took first place in the study. In contrast, Indiana was rated 50th in terms of quality of life, 42nd in terms of healthcare, and 38th based on the economic environment of the state.
WalletHub also examined which states had the most veterans living there per 100 inhabitants. Two states that made the top five overall, Montana and Maine, had among the highest density of veterans, ranking second and third place consecutively. Alaska, which was neither in the top nor the bottom overall, had the highest density of Veterans.
Another factor that was considered was how many Veterans Affairs’ facilities were available in each state, per 10,000 veterans. Though New York made it in the bottom five overall, it had the highest ranking in this category. Wyoming and Florida, both in the top five overall, were ranked third and fifth in facilities.
In terms of homelessness, the District of Columbia ranked worst. Despite Virginia’s close proximity to DC, Virginia has the lowest percentage of veterans who are homeless. To compare the two neighboring areas, the amount of homelessness in DC is 17 times higher than the amount in the entire state of Virginia.
However, the District of Columbia did have one positive ranking. In spite of the level of homelessness, the area also has the fourth-highest number of job opportunities for veterans. The states with the fewest job opportunities, were all ranked somewhere in the middle of the overall survey. They include California, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Nevada.
None of the states that were in the top or bottom rankings were among the most affordable for housing available to veterans. The most affordable states were actually Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Kansas, and Texas, with the least affordable being Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.