By Debbie Gregory.
Sperling’s Best Places, a website that rates the country’s best places to live, based on criteria such as affordability, services for children and safety. They worked with USAA to compile a 2013 list of Best Places for Veterans to live. To be considered for the list, cities had to rate among the lowest in unemployment and crime rates, and score highly in regards to employment of Veterans (especially post-911 Vets), number of government jobs, volume of DoD contracts, job growth, proximity to institutions of higher learning, access to VA healthcare facilities, and availability of health resources.
Based on this criteria, Houston, Texas comes out in the number one spot as the best city in the country for Veterans to live. Companies like Baker Hughes, Fluor, Honeywell and Capital One have been dedicated to hiring Veterans in the Houston area for the past several years. The efforts of these companies, combined with many other local employers, helped put Houston in the top ten percent of cities in the country, with a 6.1% unemployment rate.
Houston is also home to Rice University, the University of Houston, Texas Southern University, the University of Houston–Clear Lake, the University of Houston–Downtown and various other private law and medical schools and community colleges.
There are also over twenty hospitals in the Houston area, including two VA hospitals, the US Veterans Medical Center and the Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center.
Taking the spot of second best city in the country for Vets is Dallas. Companies such as Southwest Airlines, Fluor, La Quinta Inns & Suites, and the Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group have helped give Dallas a low, 6.2% unemployment rating. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is home to a slew of public and private colleges and universities, including Texas Christian University, University of Dallas, multiple schools in the UT, University of North Texas, and A&M systems, as well as the seven schools in the Dallas Community College District. Dallas is also home to dozens of medical facilities, including the Dallas VA Medical Center.
Minneapolis, Minnesota came in third in the Best places for Vets ranking. With an extremely low unemployment rate of 5.3% and substantial employers like API Group dedicated to hiring Veterans, Minneapolis’ extremely low crime rate helped tip the scale in its favor. The city is also home to the University of Minnesota, Macalester College, the University of St. Thomas, Augsburg College, Capella University, Walden University, Minneapolis Technical and Community College and many other private and public schools. Minneapolis also has many hospitals and medical centers, but perhaps the lack of a VA hospital is what kept the city from the 1 or 2 spot.
MilitaryConnection.com would like to thank the cities of Houston, Dallas and Minneapolis for their commitment to serving those who have served. Every year, approximately 200,000 members of our military are separating and transitioning back to civilian life. Many of these Vets choose to relocate with their families from their last duty station. With the standout numbers these three cities have, combined with their designations as Best Places for Veterans, perhaps more Vets will gravitate towards Houston, Dallas and Minneapolis, and cities like them who are truly serving the Veteran community by making a home for them in their community.