Special Report

Providence Is the Best City in America for Veterans

There are about 18 million military veterans in the U.S. Most served during the Vietnam- or Gulf Wars-eras with very few World War II veterans still alive today. Veterans live across the country, mostly dispersed the way the total population is. So California, Texas, and Florida have the most veterans. As a percent of the total population in each state, however, Alaska tops the list with almost 13% of the population who are also veterans.

Some places in America are better for veterans to live than others. According to the Census Bureau, almost all American veterans receive federal benefits, but states, even cities, may provide additional benefits. Sometimes, it is not necessarily the benefits but the conditions in a state or city that may be more favorable to veterans in one city compared to another. (Here are 13 benefits every veteran is entitled to.)

For example, medical and mental health care, possibilities for education, and employment opportunities differ from city to city. These are particularly important for veterans who need the services of Veterans Affairs hospitals. Similarly, community is important, as is affordability and the housing market.

It is not enough to be eligible for VA benefits, it is also important to be able to access them easily. The VA had a $336 billion budget in the 2022 fiscal year to provide medical care, disability compensation, pensions, employment services, assistance to homeless veterans, home-loan guarantees, death benefits, and other services. The numbers of benefit centers or benefit claims assistance can be crucial to ease of access for those services.

To find the best cities for veterans, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data blog Lawnstarter’s report 2023’s Best Cities for Veterans, which ranked the 200 largest U.S. cities by the quality of life of veterans, based on a weighted index of 38 metrics grouped into nine categories: community, support, medical health care, mental health care, housing, education and training, employment and volunteering, affordability, and safety. (Also see, the states with the most veterans.)

Providence, Rhode Island, ranks at the top of the list. Among the primary reasons are its high marks in several measures. Providence ranks in first place among all cities in the measures of mental and medical health care, third in the measure of access to veteran support resources, and fourth in employment and volunteering. For example, Providence has the most VA health facilities per 10,000 veterans and the second-most veteran-friendly jobs.

See 24/7 Wall St.’s list of the best cities for veterans.

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