East Coast, Midwest cities dominate 2024 best places for veterans to live

The East Coast and Midwest stand out as prime locations for veterans and current military service members, according to the 2024 Best Cities for Veterans to Live list compiled by Veterans United Home Loans

Tampa emerged as the top metro area for veterans. It was followed by Rochester, Minnesota; Wichita Falls, Texas; Fargo, North Dakota; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Watertown, New York; Charleston, South Carolina; Medford, Oregon; Altoona, Pennsylvania; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 

“Our in-depth analysis factors in feedback and priorities from hundreds of Veterans we surveyed, so we can really dig into what those who serve are looking for when it comes to planting roots and building communities,” Chris Birk, vice president of mortgage insight at Veterans United, said in a statement.

“These cities, both big and small, are great places to raise a family, offer healthy job markets, an abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy for those kicking off the next chapter after the military and provide ample opportunities to connect with fellow Veterans.”

On a more granular level, Sioux Falls topped the list for affordability among the top 10 metros, followed closely by Wichita Falls. Conversely, Virginia Beach was the most expensive city in the top 10, with a cost-of-living score that was slightly above the national average. 

In terms of safety, Rochester ranked first. Only two cities in the top 10 — Sioux Falls and Charleston — had crime rates slightly above the national average. 

There were a total of 25 factors considered in the analysis, including median home prices, quality of life and the strength of the veteran community.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Texas led the nation with 10,237 VA loans originated in second quarter of 2024. Florida and North Carolina followed with 9,413 and 5,809 loans, respectively.