10 Best States for Veterans

best states veterans

10 Best States for Veterans

Deciding where you want to move is one of the many decisions made when planning your transition out of the military. After being told where to move from duty station to duty station, you now have the choice of where you want to move and there may be many places that come to mind.

In order to help with your search, we’ve made a list of the top ten states that we find are the best for veterans. These results were based on:

  • Population of veterans
  • Cost-of-living index and national rank
  • Veteran median income vs State median income
  • Veteran unemployment rate vs State unemployment rate

If you would like a detailed list regarding these state benefits, we have a full list at College Recon!

#1 Virginia

  • Population of veterans: 11.25%
  • Cost-of-living index: 100.7; National Rank: 30th
  • Veteran median income: $82,865; State median income: $72,577
  • Veteran unemployment rate: 1.7 %; State unemployment rate: 2.8%

Along with culture, history, and thriving cities, Virginia has a low unemployment rate and veterans make $10,288 more in median income than the state. Virginia also offers many programs such as the Military Medics and Corpsmen Program and Veteran Entrepreneurship that encourages veterans to reach their career goals. With plenty of opportunities here, Virginia is a great place for veterans to call home.

RELATED: Virginia Veterans Benefits

#2 Alaska

  • Population of veterans: 13.12%
  • Cost-of-living index: 129.9; National Rank: 45th
  • Veteran median income: $85,518; State median income: $74,346
  • Veteran unemployment rate: 3.6%; State unemployment rate: 6.2%

America’s Last Frontier is a beautiful and popular destination to visit. So popular in fact, that Alaska is home to more veterans than any other state. Although the cost of living is a bit on the expensive side, unemployment for veterans is 2.6 points below the state’s unemployment, the median income among veterans is the highest in the nation, and there is no income tax. To add on to these favorable statistics, the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation gives roughly $2000 per year to their residents just for living in Alaska. All of this information makes it easy to see why veterans choose to live here.

#3 Maryland

  • Population of veterans: 8.87%
  • Cost-of-living index: 129.7; National Rank: 44th
  • Veteran median income: $89,378; State median income: $83,242
  • Veteran unemployment rate: 0.9%; State unemployment rate: 3.7%

Maryland has a high median income for both veterans and the state. They also have the least amount of veteran unemployment of just 0.9%! Maryland is one of the wealthiest states in the country and has a wide array of job opportunities in the surrounding federal agencies, technical field, and computer industries. Maryland can definitely be named a veteran-friendly state.

#4 South Carolina

  • Population of veterans: 10.34%
  • Cost-of-living index: 95.9; National Rank: 23rd
  • Veteran median income: $58,792; State median income: $52,306
  • Veteran unemployment rate: 1.8%; State unemployment rate: 2.9%

Many veterans have taken residence here in the Palmetto State making up 10.34% of the population and they have the highest percentage of businesses that are veteran-owned being 13%. South Carolina also offers Operation Palmetto Employment which helps veterans and their families find meaningful careers through hiring events and job fairs. Beaches, strong veteran presence, mountains, southern hospitality, affordability, what’s more to like?

#5 Alabama

  • Population of veterans: 9.8%
  • Cost-of-living index: 89.3; National Rank: 11th
  • Veteran median income: $57,935; State median income: $49,861
  • Veteran unemployment rate: 1.9%; State unemployment rate: 2.9%

Cost of living is relatively low and the median home value in Alabama is $143,072. Also, all military retirement compensation and survivor benefits are exempt from state, county, or municipal income tax. When it comes to employment, veterans who have been honorably discharged receive an additional five points on their employment examination scores.  Alabama is great for veterans because of its economic environment.

#6 Georgia

  • Population of veterans: 8.98%
  • Cost-of-living index: 89.2; National Rank: 9th
  • Veteran median income: $62,863; State median income: $58,756
  • Veteran unemployment rate: 2.5%; State unemployment rate: 3.4%

Georgia offers a wide array of opportunities such as employment preference, tax policies, and low cost of living. Jobs are plentiful here as well, especially with 18 Fortune 500 companies that have their headquarters located in Georgia. Georgia’s beautiful landscapes, cities, affordable living, and a variety of attractions make it a popular place for many people to move to.

#7 Oklahoma

  • Population of veterans: 10.26%
  • Cost-of-living index: 87; National Rank: 3rd
  • Veteran median income: $55,620; State median income: $51,924
  • Veteran unemployment rate: 2.6%; State unemployment rate: 3.4%

Oklahoma ranks third in cost of living in the nation and they have a low unemployment rate. This is due to the number of government sector and defense jobs that are available for veterans. Oklahoma also has the University of Oklahoma which is ranked among the top ten military-friendly universities in the nation. This midwestern state has a dynamic economy and many opportunities!

#8 West Virginia

  • Population of veterans: 10.22%
  • Cost-of-living index: 91.1; National Rank: 17th
  • Veteran median income: $48,786; State median income: $44,097
  • Veteran unemployment rate: 3.2%; State unemployment rate: 4.8

West Virginia’s unemployment rate for veterans is 1.6 points below the state unemployment rate and there is a high population of veterans. Along with these statistics, there are organizations such as the Veterans Re-education Assistance which offers a stipend of up to $500 per semester to veterans who are enrolled in a certified post-secondary class.

#9 Texas

  • Population of veterans: 7.94%
  • Cost-of-living index: 91.5; National Rank: 18th
  • Veteran median income: $65,984; State median income: $60,629
  • Veteran unemployment rate: 3.2%; State unemployment rate: 3.4%

Texas has a high number of military installations as well as a low cost of living. It is extremely affordable along with property tax exemptions if eligible, no income tax, and there are many military-friendly cities with booming economies. Texas is constantly progressing financially and in the workforce. Texas has something to offer to everyone!

#10 Florida

  • Population of veterans: 9.7%
  • Cost-of-living index: 97.9; National Rank: 26th
  • Veteran median income: $58,190; State median income: $55,462
  • Veteran unemployment rate: 2.8%; State unemployment rate: 3.1%

The Sunshine State attracts many veterans and it’s easy to see why due to no income tax, beautiful weather, and low cost of living. The educational opportunities are endless here which offer tuition assistance and other educational benefits. Each area in Florida has its own characteristics, but all of them share the same qualities that veterans are looking for.

 

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