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.
Correction: An earlier version of the story mislabeled the number of military retirees. There are 21.5 million veterans and 2.1 million military retirees.
Stephanie Stamm contributed to this article.