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April 17, 2024

25 Best Cities for Veterans to Live (Ranked Best to Worst in 2024!)

Last updated on April 18, 2024

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As a military veteran, you sacrificed a lot for us, giving up many of your personal freedoms to defend our country. So, it might seem strange to suddenly have control over where you’re going to live.

Finding the right place to settle down after the military is critical for you and your family. Whether it’s access to quality healthcare, affordable housing, educational opportunities, job prospects, or a supportive community, veterans deserve to live in cities that honor their service and sacrifice.

In this guide, we’ll explore the 25 best places for veterans to live right now, rank ordered from best to worst. In developing this list we considered post-military employment opportunities, strength of the economy, average home values, overall quality of life, benefits for veterans, and VA healthcare availability.

Key Findings From Our Research

  • 5 Best Cities for Veterans to Live In: The top cities for veterans to live in right now are: Raleigh, NC, Austin, TX, Orlando, FL, Tampa, FL, and Virginia Beach, VA.
  • Average Home Value Variability: Home values across these cities vary widely from as low as $207,171 in Laredo, TX, to as high as $1,489,822 in Irvine, CA. The average home value for all our 25 top cities for veterans to live in is $447,250. According to Zillow, the average home value in the U.S. is currently $354,179.
  • Employment Opportunities: Many of these cities have strong job markets for veterans, particularly in sectors such as technology, healthcare, defense, and aerospace. For example, cities like Austin, TX and San Diego, CA are highlighted for their tech and defense industries respectively.
  • Quality of Life: Several cities offer unique lifestyle benefits, such as low crime rates, high-quality education systems, and abundant recreational activities. For example, Scottsdale, AZ is noted for its high quality of life, plus a warm and dry climate. It also offers high-quality healthcare and outdoor activities. The downside is its high cost of living and housing prices with an average home value of $823,008.
  • Veteran Support: Every city listed offers specific support systems for veterans, including access to VA healthcare facilities, community support networks, and solid veteran benefits. This indicates a broad recognition and accommodation of veterans’ needs in these communities, which is crucial for their transition to civilian life.

25 Best Cities for Veterans to Live In Right Now

  • Raleigh, NC
  • Austin, TX
  • Orlando, FL
  • Tampa, FL
  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • Gilbert, AZ
  • Laredo, TX
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Chandler, AZ
  • Irvine, CA
  • St. Petersburg, FL
  • Boise, ID
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Lincoln, NE
  • Madison, WI
  • Chesapeake, VA
  • San Diego, CA
  • Henderson, NV
  • Miami, FL
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Plano, TX
  • Arlington, TX

#1. Raleigh, NC – Average Home Value: $442,852

Raleigh offers a blend of affordable living, a strong job market, and quality healthcare, including access to VA medical centers. The city’s focus on education and technology industries provides ample employment opportunities for veterans looking to transition into civilian careers.

#2. Austin, TX – Average Home Value: $546,619

Known for its vibrant tech scene and cultural diversity, Austin is attractive to veterans for its strong job growth and entrepreneurial opportunities. The city also has a supportive community for veterans and several institutions dedicated to their well-being.

#3. Orlando, FL – Average Home Value: $384,415

Besides its warm climate and recreational opportunities, Orlando offers a low cost of living and no state income tax, which is beneficial for those on a fixed income. The presence of numerous VA facilities and military bases nearby enhances access to healthcare and community support. Orlando also has one of the top ranked VA healthcare systems in the U.S.

#4. Tampa, FL – Average Home Value: $382,663

Tampa’s proximity to MacDill Air Force Base provides various military benefits and services. The city’s growing job market, especially in defense and healthcare sectors, along with its veteran-friendly communities, make it a prime location for veterans.

#5. Virginia Beach, VA – Average Home Value: $382,663

With a significant military presence, Virginia Beach offers numerous resources for veterans, including job opportunities in the defense sector and extensive VA healthcare facilities. The oceanfront setting also provides a tranquil environment for relaxation and recreation.

#6. Scottsdale, AZ – Average Home Value: $823,008

Scottsdale is known for its high quality of life, including excellent healthcare, low crime rates, and plenty of leisure activities, which are appealing to veterans seeking a peaceful and healthy post-service life. The downside to living in Scottsdale is its high cost of living and the high cost of home ownership.

#7. Colorado Springs, CO – Average Home Value: $455,641

Home to multiple military bases, Colorado Springs provides a community understanding and supportiveness of military life. The scenic beauty, combined with a focus on aerospace and technology, offers both employment and a high quality of life.

#8. Gilbert, AZ – Average Home Value: $580,531

Gilbert boasts a low crime rate and high-quality educational institutions, making it ideal for veterans who prioritize safety and family life. The economic stability and community support for veterans add to its allure.

#9. Laredo, TX – Average Home Value: $207,171

This city offers a low cost of living with a strong sense of community and respect for military service. Its geographical location provides unique employment opportunities in federal and state-level law enforcement and customs.

#10. Jacksonville, FL – Average Home Value: $298,584

With multiple military facilities nearby, Jacksonville provides a supportive environment for veterans. The city’s affordable housing and growing industries, such as logistics and health care, make it an attractive option for resettlement.

#11. Chandler, AZ – Average Home Value: $531,446

Chandler features a thriving economy, particularly in tech sectors where many veterans find employment post-service. The city also offers excellent educational resources and veteran support organizations.

#12. Irvine, CA – Average Home Value: $1,489,822

Known for its safety, green spaces, and high-ranking schools, Irvine is particularly suitable for veterans who prioritize family living and education. The proximity to several higher education institutions and tech industries provides ample career opportunities. It costs a lot to live in Irvine. It also has a very high cost of home ownership compared to the other cities on our list.

#13. St. Petersburg, FL – Average Home Value: $381,107

The city’s warm climate and affordable living are complemented by a variety of recreational and cultural activities. Veterans can benefit from the proximity to VA health care services and a community with a high regard for military service.

#14. Boise, ID – Average Home Value: $483,604

Boise offers a welcoming community with a low cost of living and high quality of life. The surrounding natural landscapes provide ample recreational opportunities, and the local economy is bolstered by a growing tech sector.

#15. Fort Worth, TX – Average Home Value: $306,148

Fort Worth features a robust economy, particularly in aerospace and manufacturing, sectors that often seek out veterans for their skills. The city’s rich cultural heritage and community support programs make it an appealing choice for veterans.

#16. Lincoln, NE – Average Home Value: $276,124

Known for its friendly environment and educational opportunities, Lincoln offers a stable job market and a high quality of life. Its community-oriented approach includes several initiatives aimed at supporting veterans.

#17. Madison, WI – Average Home Value: $380,800

With its focus on education and healthcare, Madison provides veterans with employment opportunities and access to top-tier medical services. The city’s inclusive and progressive community also makes it an attractive place for veterans to settle.

#18. Chesapeake, VA – Average Home Value: $388,045

Nestled in a military-rich region, Chesapeake has a strong community spirit and offers numerous military benefits, including access to VA services and military commissaries.

#19. San Diego, CA – Average Home Value: $1,021,655

As a major military hub, San Diego is home to a large veteran population, providing a strong support network. The city’s economy is heavily influenced by the military and defense industries, offering many job opportunities for veterans. The downside to San Diego is it’s an expensive city to live in.

#20. Henderson, NV – Average Home Value: $476,378

With its proximity to Las Vegas and a lower cost of living, Henderson is attractive for its recreational and entertainment options. The city also offers several benefits for veterans, including healthcare facilities and community support networks.

#21. Miami, FL – Average Home Value: $571,215

Miami’s vibrant culture and dynamic economy provide an exciting lifestyle for veterans. Its focus on international trade and business offers unique employment opportunities. Additionally, the warm climate is a significant draw.

#22. Pittsburgh, PA – Average Home Value: $227,329

This city is known for its strong sense of community and resurgence in industries such as tech and healthcare, which provide ample employment opportunities for veterans. The cost of living is relatively low, making it financially appealing.

#23. Minneapolis, MN – Average Home Value: $317,405

With a robust economy and a high focus on health and education, Minneapolis offers a high quality of life and numerous career opportunities, particularly in medical and educational fields, which are often well-suited for veterans.

#24. Plano, TX – Average Home Value: $528,786

Plano’s strong economic environment, particularly in technology, along with its excellent schools and low crime rates, make it a top choice for veterans who are raising families or seeking stable post-military careers.

#25. Arlington, TX – Average Home Value: $320,330

Arlington is home to a diverse community and provides a cost-effective lifestyle with access to extensive recreational and cultural amenities. The presence of major defense contractors offers numerous employment opportunities for veterans.

Source Data

Data used to create these rankings was collected and analyzed from the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Zillow Home Values Index, and Wallet Hub.

About the Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Brian Reese is one of the top VA disability benefits experts in the world and bestselling author of You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned (Second Edition).

Brian’s frustration with the VA claim process led him to create VA Claims Insider, which provides disabled veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned to win their VA disability compensation claim, faster, even if they’ve already filed, been denied, gave up, or don’t know where to start. 

As the founder of VA Claims Insider and CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, he has helped serve more than 10 million military members and veterans since 2013 through free online educational resources.

He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).

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