When we talk about employment factors such as access to health care and health insurance, unemployment rates, financial wellness and job stability, one aspect that always comes up is differences in demographics: What’s true for a group of one age or in one area of the country isn’t true for everyone.
Veteran’s Day is a perfect opportunity to highlight one of these demographics: returning military personnel. There are more than 19.2 million veterans living in the United States, and despite their training, skills and experience, many have a difficult time finding employment when they return home.
“Ideally, every city would roll out the red carpet for our veterans, given all they’ve sacrificed for cities and citizens all across the country. That’s not the case, however, and it ultimately comes down to prioritization and funding. Some areas simply focus on veterans affairs more than others, and some have the means to make an impact, while others don’t,” WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitr said, commenting on the company’ recent ranking of best cities for veterans.
The rankings, which looked at the 100 largest U.S. cities, considered access to employment, strength of the economy, quality of life and health. These factors are broken down further to address such issues as income growth for vets and availability of VA facilities. The last one, in particular, is an important issue for veterans and was given “triple weight” in WalletHub’s scoring metrics.
“Veterans can struggle with health care for themselves as well as their families,” says Rita Case, director of veteran and military student services at Metropolitan State University in Denver. “VA appointments are scheduled months in advance and may be cities away. Local health care providers may not be ‘veteran-friendly’ and may not support military insurance.”
While there are some areas of the country that are more friendly for veterans than others–California, Texas, Arizona and Florida all get high marks for things such as veteran unemployment, rate of veteran poverty and homelessness — there isn’t one city that can’t improve in at least one area of WalletHub’s metrics.
For example, says Dana Rocha, director of military and veterans success center at Colorado State University Pueblo, “Colorado has a high veteran population and is also a highly educated state, which makes it difficult for those just getting out of the military to find employment if they do not have a degree.”
So which cities are doing the best when it comes to accommodating veterans, and which could use some improvement? Click through the slideshow above to find out.
— Related on ThinkAdvisor: