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:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


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