The 10 Best and Worst States for Military Retirees

Submarine veteran Lawrence Check adjusts his hat before watching a parade on Veterans Day in Atlanta in 2012. Submarine veteran Lawrence Check adjusts his hat before watching a parade on Veterans Day in Atlanta in 2012. David Tulis/AP file photo

Military retirees are not like the average retiree: Veterans may have special medical needs, and being decades younger than the average retiree, they usually still need to find work.

So when searching for the best place to retire from the Armed Forces, there are several economic, social, and health care factors for a veteran to take into account. WalletHub, a personal-finance network, this week released a survey ranking the states and the District of Columbia as places for military retirement.

Wyoming tops the list as best.

While medical treatment is one of the more essential services for veterans—making the Veterans Affairs Department scandal all the more disconcerting this Memorial Day—the survey also takes into account housing prices, job opportunities, and the number of veteran-owned businesses. The survey also considers the fact that the average officer retires at 45 years old and average enlisted personnel retire at 41 years old.

So why does Wyoming top the list? It ranked in the top five for all three main categories for the survey: economic environment, quality of life, and health care. Wyoming ranks first in the number of VA health facilities per 10,000 veterans and also ranks fourth-highest in number of veterans per 100 residents.

Among the main ranking categories, Delaware leads in the best quality of life for military retirees, New Hampshire has the best health care system for them, and Mississippi has the best economic environment for them.

California, though, is the worst state in the country for military retirees; the survey specifically notes its poor economic environment for veterans. California also has the second-lowest number of veterans per 100 residents, second-highest percentage of homeless veterans, and third-highest housing costs.

Though some states rank poorly in individual categories, not all states are bad for military retirees overall. While Texas has the worst quality of life for military retirees, it ranks 37th overall in the state rankings. Similarly, Virginia has the worst health care system for military retirees, but ranks 17th in the country overall.

For the 2.1 million military retirees in the United States, finding the right place for retirement is an essential part of their welfare after years of service. Considering the latest developments from the VA, military personnel need to look at all factors before choosing where to retire.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.