Raleigh, NC, Is The Best U.S. City For Veterans

Americans agree that military families deal with more financial stress than the average family. Ahead of Veterans Day, WalletHub looked at the best places veterans can live to reduce that burden.

The Midwest and South offer the best places for veterans to live well, according to WalletHub’s 2022 Best & Worst Places for Veterans to Live report.

The report analyzed the 100 largest U.S. cities for key metrics related to veterans’ quality of life, including the share of military skill-related jobs, housing affordability, and proximity to VA health facilities.

Raleigh, NC, took the top spot for the best place for veterans to live, followed by Austin, TX, and Laredo, TX. Madison, WI, and Tampa, FL, rounded out the top five.

Detroit, MI, finished in last place. Newark, NJ, Memphis, TN, and Baltimore, MD, also ranked poorly.

“All cities should make taking care of veterans’ needs a priority, considering how much veterans have sacrificed to serve the country and keep it safe. However, 71% of military members think the U.S. does not take care of its veterans financially,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. 

“Some cities set aside an adequate amount of money for veterans affairs while others do not, either because they do not have enough of a budget or veterans aren’t prioritized.”

The military offers a Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) for active members, while veterans receive a monthly housing allowance. But soaring home price appreciation and record-setting rents have found a home difficult for both active military and veterans.

“With the stipend that we’re getting — it’s helpful, but it still doesn’t cover what my mortgage is,” Devon Hicks, a former Navy member, told KPBS News. “That’s where you use your paycheck, or you get a side job or you do Uber or you do Lyft.”

The Department of Defense identified 28 areas where housing costs went up 20% and started giving military members in those areas more housing allowance in October.

“We want our sailors and our service members to be able to focus on protecting our country,” Drew said, “Not worrying about their families and housing — ‘Is my family going to be freaking homeless?’ No. That distracts from our mission,” said Michael Drew, a Navy veteran who is now a real estate agent, told KPBS.

A HUD and VA count in January 2022 found that more than 33,000 veterans are homeless. 

That number is down 11% YOY and has fallen by more than half since 2010. But some say the VA’s count is inaccurate. Los Angeles officials reported their own numbers this month, which showed significantly more veteran homelessness.

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