New State Tops Annual List of Best Places for Military Retirees

New State Tops Annual List of Best Places for Military Retirees
Looking at relocation in retirement? One online analysis suggests considering the Palmetto State. (Photo by Daniela Duncan/Getty Images)

South Carolina took over the top spot in the annual ranking of best states for military retirees by the financial advice website WalletHub, with 2023 winner Florida and 2022 champion Virginia rounding out the top three finishers.


The list uses more than two dozen metrics, pulling economic, health care, and quality of life data from a variety of sources, including MOAA. South Carolina ranked in the top 10 for each subcategory – third in quality of life, fifth in economic environment, and ninth in health care.


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


Other states saw a wider variance in scores. Maryland took first in quality of life for retirees but ranked 32nd in health care, for example, leading to a fourth-place finish overall. Connecticut ranked first in health care and 43rd in economic environment, leading to a No. 8 overall finish.


The rankings, which include the District of Columbia, saw Oregon in the last spot for the second-straight year. New Mexico took 50th, and Vermont finished 49th overall. Oregon ranked dead last in the quality of life subcategory, while nearby Washington state was last in health care (46th overall) and California took 51st in economic environment (41st overall).


[RELATED: MOAA's Retirement Resources]


WalletHub also released rankings of states in other categories of interest to veterans and retirees:

  • Veterans Per Capita: Alaska has the most, nearly triple the rate of last-place New Jersey.
  • Job Opportunities for Veterans: Connecticut ranks highest, ahead of Washington, D.C., and North Dakota. New Mexico, Delaware, and Nevada make up the bottom three.
  • Affordable Housing: California, Hawaii, and New York took the bottom three spots, while Iowa claimed top honors.
  • Percentage of Veteran-Owned Businesses: West Virginia and Virginia finished 1-2, while Washington, D.C., ranked last, just behind New York.


Click here for full survey results, methodology, and more details.


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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 X: @KRLilley