According to a White House report titled "The Fast Track to Civilian Employment: Steamlining Credentialing and Licensing for Service Members, Veterans, and their Spouses," between 240,000 and 360,000 military members leave the Armed Forces for life after service every year. Many of these former servicemembers have families and are looking for a place to settle down. They must consider factors like access to VA facilities, veteran population, median income and quality of life. So, what are the best cities in the United States for veterans? AFBA has compiled the following list:
1. Virginia Beach, Virginia
This coastal city has one of the highest veteran populations in the country, making it a haven for former servicemembers. Not only will veterans be welcomed by fellow military comrades, they will also have great access to local VA. According to Military Times, there is an average of 1 VA office every ten miles in Virginia Beach. A bonus feature of this city is that the median income for veterans is among the top in the nation.
2. San Diego, California
Next on the list is San Diego, California. This gorgeous West Coast city is the perfect place for former servicemembers with growing families. The average monthly income for veterans in this city is $42,118, according to Military Times, and there are plenty of things to keep families busy. The schools in San Diego also average a 7 on the GreatSchools rating system, meaning children of veterans will have access to a good education.
3. Colorado Springs, Colorado
It's no surprise that this mountainous city made the list. Colorado Springs is home to the Air Force Academy, and a veteran population of almost 54,000. The scenic views and low crime rate make Colorado Springs an excellent place to begin life after service, especially because the median home price is $205,600.
4. Washington D.C.
What better place for a former servicemember than the nation's capitol? Aside from a wide variety of jobs available, Washington D.C. is full of activities, festivals, and attractions to keep veterans and their families busy. According to military times, there are about 25 VA centers within a 50 mile radius of the city, and this city has one of the lowest veteran unemployment rates in the nation. In fact, the average income for veterans in D.C. is $52,266 annually.
5. San Antonio, Texas
Though San Antonio's military population is relatively small in comparison with the rest of the country, the number of VA centers don't reflect that. San Antonio is a great place for veterans who may need the communal support or mental health help from VA centers. With 15 VA centers within a 50 mile radius, former servicemembers won't have to travel far to reach the services they need.
All veterans deserve a great place to settle for life after service. By doing a little research ahead of time, they can determine which city would be best for themselves and for their families before they make the big move.