Numerous cities in America offer a high quality of life, but sometimes those cities are not always the most affordable for veterans looking to utilize their VA home loan.
Finding a balance between affordability and economic wellness is important whether you’re a young professional fresh out of college, or a service member looking to relocate.
Veteran’s United has compiled a short list of affordable places for veterans to consider when relocating to help avoid breaking the bank. Let’s take a closer look at the areas that topped the list.
10 Most Affordable Cities in America for Veterans
#1 – Laredo, TX
Laredo is a small Spanish villa that is located in South Texas. Laredo managed to secure the top spot on the list this year. Many people are drawn to the city because of its rich culture and affordable cost of living.
- Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 90.7
- Veteran Population – 5,080
- Unemployment Rate – 5.40%
- Median Annual Salary – $37,890
#2 – Corpus Christi, TX
Various residents are able to stretch their dollar a bit further living here due to the low cost of living. Corpus Christi is a city on the Gulf of Mexico that has tons of beaches and other attractions to enjoy.
- Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 94.3
- Veteran Population – 25,153
- Unemployment Rate – 5.60%
- Median Annual Salary – $43,325
#3 – Lubbock, TX
Lubbock is a city in West Texas that is known for is music, and its culture rich museums. Lubbock is also home to Texas Tech University among other colleges in the area.
- Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 93.7
- Veteran Population – 12,018
- Unemployment Rate – 4.80%
- Median Annual Salary – $36,653
#4 – El Paso, TX
El Paso is a city with a lot to offer. Some of those things include hiking in some of the local parks, enjoying some music at the Don Haskins Center, or enjoying a day at the El Paso Zoo.
- Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 87.4
- Veteran Population – 44,580
- Unemployment Rate – 6.90%
- Median Annual Salary – $39,379
#5 – San Antonio, TX
San Antonio is a vibrant city in South Texas that offers a unique sightseeing, shopping, outdoor activities, and historic sites to visit. Luckily for those looking to call San Antonio home, it also a really affordable place to live.
- Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 88.7
- Veteran Population – 107,359
- Unemployment Rate – 6.40%
- Median Annual Salary – $40,978
#6 – Oklahoma City, OK
Oklahoma City is the capital of the state of Oklahoma and offers a great cuisine, cultural attractions, and outdoor activities to enjoy.
- Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 85.4
- Veteran Population – 42,000
- Unemployment Rate – 5.20%
- Median Annual Salary – $40,920
#7 – Arlington/Fort Worth TX
Arlington is another great affordable city to consider when looking for places to live. There are amusement parks, and you can even take a tour of the Global Life Park, which is home of the Texas Rangers.
- Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 108.90
- Veteran Population – 19,153
- Unemployment Rate – 5.50%
- Median Annual Salary – $43,264
Forth Worth is an affordable city for those who may be looking to settle down in a place with rodeos, sports and much more.
- Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 95.3
- Veteran Population – 42,375
- Unemployment Rate – 5.80%
- Median Annual Salary – $43,877
(Note: These two areas were combined due to their close proximity.)
#8 – Columbus, OH
Columbus is that capital of the state Ohio and offers great coffee, local music and dining.
- Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 92.0
- Veteran Population – 41,428
- Unemployment Rate – 6.30%
- Median Annual Salary – $35,384
#9 – Tulsa, OK
Tulsa is the second largest city in Oklahoma. Tulsa offers a a large range of activities such as visiting that Tulsa zoo, the Philbrook Museum of Art and many other attractions.
- Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 86.0
- Veteran Population – 24,324
- Unemployment Rate – 6.70%
- Median Annual Salary – $36,050
#10 – Jacksonville, FL
Jacksonville is typically known for it’s sandy beached and great fishing, but it also serves as a great place to call home.
- Cost of Living Index (based of U.S. Average of 100) – 91.3
- Veteran Population – 79,192
- Unemployment Rate – 7.60%
- Median Annual Salary – $39,775
Factors that Affect Affordability
To determine the top affordable cities in America for veterans, Veterans United analysts collected data from the 100 most populated cities in the United States and compared the following dimensions (Economic Wellness, and Affordability).
We evaluated the strength of each city across those dimensions using 4 relevant variables. Each city was then scored and ranked in each of the 4 variables by multiplying the city’s rank by that variable’s weight. The final rankings were determined by the city’s total score, with the lowest score representing the best city for Veterans to live.
Here’s a quick run-down of each metric:
- 2018 – 2019 Q3 Cost of Living Index (Double Weight)
- Veteran Unemployment Rate (Full Weight)
- 5 Year Rate of Job Growth (2013 – 2018) (Half Weight)
- Median Veteran Income (Double Weight)
The places on this list are not only affordable, but they also offer a rich culture and history with tons of attractions to enjoy. Use our affordability calculator to estimate your loan pre-approval amount based on your income and expenses.
Data was collected from the US Census Bureau – American Community Survey, Council for Community and Economic Research, US Census Bureau – American Community Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics (CES-SA), and Veterans United Home Loans.