Big Changes on Annual List of Best (and Worst) States for Military Retirees

Big Changes on Annual List of Best (and Worst) States for Military Retirees
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Florida moved to the front of the line on a popular annual ranking of the best states for military retirees by the financial advice website WalletHub, while Oregon slid into the last spot.


Researchers used 28 “key metrics” and data from multiple sources (including MOAA) to compile their list of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to the site, with the measurements grouped into three categories of equal weight – Economic Environment, Quality of Life, and Health Care. Florida moved up from second place in 2022 into the top spot, with Virginia slipping from first to third. South Carolina moved up from seventh place to second place in the 2023 listing, with Minnesota and Connecticut rounding out the top five.


Oregon fell from 48th last year to 51st in 2023, joined in the bottom five by Washington, D.C.; Nevada, Mississippi; and Vermont, which finished last in 2022.


[RELATED: MOAA’s Military State Report Card and Tax Guide]


Other notes from the WalletHub rankings, released May 22:

  • Minnesota ranked first in the report’s Health Care category, followed by Connecticut and New York. The Empire State still finished 38th overall thanks to poor showings in the economic (50th) and quality-of-life (47th) categories.

  • Maryland topped the report’s Quality of Life index, while North Dakota ranked best in Economic Environment for military retirees. The states finished seventh and 10th overall, respectively.

  • Along with finishing 51st overall, Oregon also took last in the Quality of Life standings, just behind Washington, D.C. Washington state ranked last in Health Care, while California – the only state which fully taxes military retirement benefits – ranked 51st in Economic Environment.


The survey also provided data points for retirees that may influence their residency choice more than a state’s overall ranking. WalletHub ranked North Dakota first in job opportunities for veterans, for example, with Nevada last. Aspiring entrepreneurs, however, might find more company in Virginia, which ranked first in percentage of veteran-owned businesses, ahead of South Carolina and Hawaii (New York took 51st, just behind Illinois and California).


[RELATED: New to Your State? Find a Nearby MOAA Chapter]


Read more from the survey, including a detailed description of the categories and methodology, at this link. Want more from WalletHub? Check out the site’s list of best (and worst) cities for veterans to live from October 2022.


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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and Follow him on Twitter: @KRLilley