- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wyoming, New Hampshire and Montana top the list of the best states for military veterans to live, according to a survey released Thursday

The report, conducted by the social network WalletHub.com, ranked each state on the economic environment, quality of life and health care available for military retirees. 

An average officer retires from military service at age 45.2 and still has many years left in the workforce.

“Veterans need to be appreciated not just by the federal government, but by their employers, communities and families,” Elizabeth L. Hillman, University of California Hastings College of Law provost, academic dean and professor of law, said in the report.  

“Retirement often comes early in the productive lives of veterans, who have the potential to return to civilian life with hard-won experience and insight,” she said. 

When it comes to assimilating back into society, which can prove tough for many retired veterans, the report found that conservative red states were the most hospitable to military retirees. 

The lowest housing costs were found in Arkansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia while the highest housing costs were found in California, New Jersey, the District of Columbia and Hawaii. 

The highest percentages of homeless veterans were found in New York, California and Washington D.C. 

The District did score high on one factor: D.C., Maryland, Virginia, North Dakota and Colorado were rated as offering the most job opportunities for veterans. 

Montana, Maine and Vermont were ranked as the states with most veteran-owned businesses.

The report’s findings were based on factors such as state and local taxes; veteran job opportunities; cost of living; veterans per 100 inhabitants; university system rank; and number of VA health facilities. 

The top ten states for military retirees: Wyoming, New Hampshire, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Alaska, Delaware, Kansas, Oklahoma and Maine. 

The bottom ten: Utah, Nevada, Arkansas, Rhode Island, Oregon, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arizona, Indiana, New York and California.

The full report can be read at http://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-for-military-retirees/3915/.

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