By BRETT DAVIS
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – Washington state is ranked the fifth-worst state in the country for military retirees to live in, according to a WalletHub report.
The personal finance website looked at all 50 states and the District of Columbia across 29 key metrics, including veterans per capita, the number of Veterans Administration (VA) health facilities, and job opportunities for veterans.
“Washington is the fifth worst state for military retirees,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez via email. “Some of the things that had a direct influence on the ranking were the lack of job opportunities for veterans and the lack of housing affordability.”
Washington ranked no. 50 in veteran job opportunities, 34th in veteran owned-businesses, and 42nd in housing affordability.
She went on to note, “Washington also has one of the lowest share of veterans not receiving SNAP, as well as a large share of homeless veterans.”
The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides food-purchasing assistance for low- and no-income people.
WalletHub ranked Washington 46th in percentage of homeless veterans.
“The state ranks particularly low in terms of healthcare as well,” Ms. Gonzalez added. “This is due to the small number of VA health facilities per number of veterans, as well as the small number of federal, state, local and private hospitals and physicians per capita, and the poor quality of VA hospitals.”
The Evergreen State ranked No. 47 in terms of the number of VA health facilities per number of veterans.
Oregon, Washington’s neighbor to the south, did even worse, coming in at No. 48. Idaho, Washington’s eastern neighbor, came in near the middle of the pack at No. 24.
Washington’s low ranking on WalletHub’s list is something could be viewed as something of a surprise, considering the state has the sixth largest active duty military presence in the nation, with more than 69,000 military personnel and another 90,000 dependents and 19,000 reservists, according to the Washington State Department of Commerce.
The state is home to several military installations, including Joint Base Lewis McChord, Naval Base Kitsap, Naval Air Station Whidbey, Naval Air Station Everett, Fairchild Air Base, and the National Guard at Camp Murray.