Analysis ranks best, worst states for military retirees

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

(MEDIA GENERAL) – A newly released analysis ranks “2015’s Best and Worst States for Military Retirees” based on a state’s ability to support retired veterans. WalletHub looked at 20 key factors when determining the rankings.

GALLERY: State Rankings for Military Retirees

The three major categories in the ranking included economic environment, quality of life and healthcare. However, WalletHub took other factors into consideration as well, such as job opportunities, housing prices, veteran-owned businesses and veteran homelessness.

Top 5 States for Military Retirees:
1. Wyoming
2. Montana
3. South Dakota
4. Maine
5. Florida

Bottom 5 States for Military Retirees:
51. Indiana
40. Rhode Island
49. District of Columbia
48. Utah
47. New York

WalletHub’s survey of “Best and Worst States for Military Retirees” includes the rankings for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Ranked as the No. 1 state in the country for retired military, Wyoming’s numbers show it placed fourth in economic environment and healthcare, and seventh in the quality of life category.

In contrast, Wyoming’s lowest ranking counterpart, Indiana, ranked 38th in economic environment, 50th in quality of life and 42nd in healthcare.

The top and bottom five ranking states appear multiple times in WalletHub’s comparisons.

Ranked second and third for “most veterans per 100 inhabitants” are Montana and Maine, while Utah, the District of Columbia and New York rank 47th, 50th and 51st for “fewest veterans per 100 inhabitants.” Alaska ranked first in the “most veterans per 100 inhabitants” category.

In the category “most Veteran Affairs facilities per 10,000 veterans,” New York ranks first, Wyoming third and Florida fifth. Ranked 49th and 51st for “fewest VA facilities per 10,000 veterans” is the District of Columbia and Rhode Island.

WalletHub included a category titled “percentage of homeless veterans per number of veterans” in which Maine ranked fifth with the lowest percentage, and the District of Columbia ranked 51st with the highest percentage. The District of Columbia ranked 17 times higher in veteran homelessness than Virginia, which has the lowest percentage of homeless vets.

The District of Columbia ranked fourth out of 51 for “most job opportunities for veterans,” while none of the overall top or bottom five states appear in the “fewest job opportunities for veterans” category. The states with the fewest job opportunities include Nevada, California, Georgia, New Jersey and Maryland.

Similarly, none of the overall top or bottom five states appear in the “most affordable housing” category. The list of top five states for most affordable housing consists of Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Kansas and Texas. The rankings for the “least affordable housing” category includes Massachusetts in 47th, New Jersey in 48th, California in 49th, Hawaii in 50th and the District of Columbia in 51st.

The final category included in WalletHub’s survey is titled “number of veteran-owned businesses per 1,000 inhabitants.” Ranked in the most veteran-owned businesses category: Montana and Maine come in first and second, and Rhode Island placed fifth. In the “fewest veteran-owned businesses” category, New York ranked 47th, the District of Columbia ranked 48th, and Utah ranked 51st.

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