Returning veterans face multiple challenges which make it tough to decide where to live. Many are coping with debilitating injuries and psychological trauma. A large share does not have a college degree. Lots of vets have no career background outside of their military service. Ideally they need to settle in spots with good health care for veterans, a surplus of military-related jobs and veteran-friendly employers, high job growth, low unemployment, rapid wage growth, affordable housing and an attractive cost of living index.
Last week I ran a story, The Best Places For Careers For Veterans, that laid out a ranking put together by USAA, a San Antonio financial services company that caters to members of the military, veterans and their families, which worked with a Chamber of Commerce Foundation program called Hiring Our Heroes. Now a personal finance website, WalletHub, has rated 100 cities from best to worst for veterans. (Click here for the full report.) Since we already ran a best places story, we decided to take the cities from the bottom of WalletHub’s list and highlight them here.
WalletHub’s list has some striking differences from USAA’s. The top-rated city on USAA’s list, Oklahoma City, is down in 32nd pace on WalletHub’s list. Pittsburgh, USAA’s No. 2, is in 42nd place according to WalletHub. And USAA only ranks 10 cities while WalletHub examines 100.
The two worst cities on WalletHub’s list: Detroit, MI and Newark, NJ.
The two lists use different criteria. WalletHub factored in measures like the number of homeless veteran, the percentage of veterans living below the poverty line and veteran-owned businesses per veteran population, which USAA didn’t take into account, though USAA did look at veteran-owned businesses per capita and it looked at veteran unemployment. Also the USAA list obviously had a focus on careers while WalletHub’s looks more generally at opportunities and conditions for veterans. One other difference between the lists: WalletHub evaluated cities while USAA looked at larger metro areas.
See our slideshow above for the list of 10 worst cities for veterans.
Here are WalletHub’s criteria:
Economic Wellness – Total Weight: 5
• Percentage of military skill-related Jobs: full weight
• Veteran unemployment rate (ratio of unemployed veterans to total unemployed population): full weight
• Rate of job growth (2008–2013): full weight
• Rate of veteran wage growth (2008–2013): full weight
• Veteran-owned businesses per veteran population: half weight
• Housing affordability: full weight
• Cost of living Index: full weight
• Percentage of veterans living below the poverty line: full weight
• Number of homeless veterans per veteran population: full weight
Environment, Education & Health – Total Weight: 5
• Veteran population (number of veterans per capita): full weight
• Number of VA benefits administration facilities per veteran population: half weight
• Educational opportunities (“Best Colleges for Veterans” ranking): half weight
• “Best & Worst Cities for Recreation” ranking (WalletHub Study): half weight
• “Cities with the Best & Worst Weather” ranking (WalletHub Study): half weight
• Crime rate: half weight
• Number of VA health facilities per veteran population: half weight
• “Patients’ willingness to recommend the veteran hospitals” score (used as a proxy for the quality of VA health facilities): half weight
• Percentage of hospital appointments scheduled over 30 days (used as a proxy for the quality of the VA health facilities): half weight
• “Emotional health” ranking: full weight
This article was written by Susan Adams from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.