JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville is one of the Top 10 cities for veterans to live in, according to a study by Veterans United Home Loans.
Analysts with Veterans United compared the 100 biggest cities in the U.S. among four categories: economic wellness, employment, veteran quality of life and availability of VA benefits. Then they compared the strength of those categories in each city and gave each city a score and rank.
Cities with the lowest scores were the best for veterans to live in. Jacksonville ranked number 8.
The top 10 list includes:
Jacksonville received the best scores in multiple categories, including percentage of veterans in the population, veteran unemployment rate, five-year job growth rate and percentage of monthly income spent on mortgage payments.
At least 9.2 percent of Jacksonville’s population is made up of veterans, with a veteran unemployment rate of only 6.4 percent.
The five-year job growth rate is 18.6 percent, and Jacksonville residents only spend 26.2 percent of their monthly income on mortgage payments. Not bad, considering top-ranked San Antonio residents spend 25.1 percent of their monthly income on mortgage.
Col. Len Loving, a retired Marine, knows first hand the difference a community can make for veterans. He said it’s the support from the community that sets the city apart from others.
“The doors that are open here are here because the environment the city of Jacksonville provides for citizens to donate and support," said Loving, CEO of Five Star Veterans Center, which provides housing and support services to veterans suffering from PTSD, depression or other mental health related issues.
Loving said services like that make Jacksonville a promising home for veterans. But he acknowledged that eve more can be done.
“I think we need more locations like we have here to be able to be able to provide housing for veterans and also it’s the safety net that we’re talking about," Loving said.
Other Florida cities that made the top 50 include Tampa (No. 21), St. Petersburg (No. 35) and Orlando (No. 50).
The data in the study came from sources like the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Veteran Affairs.
So, veterans, if you’re looking for a place to live, Veterans United Home Loans has a list of options ready for you.
For the top 50 cities for veterans, click here.