Gainesville Named 8th Best Metro Area for Military Retirement

USAA and Hiring Our Heroes Announce Best Places for Veterans after Military Retiremen

Gainesville was recently ranked the 8th best metro area in the nation for military retirees, according to a new study commissioned by USAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program. Orlando, the only other Florida city on the list came in ranked slightly higher at 6th place.

The 2014 “Best Places for Veterans: Military Retirement” list identifies U.S. metro areas that offer more opportunities to maximize military retiree benefits and find employment that aligns with military skills. The full Military Retirement list includes:

  1. San Antonio
  2. Austin, Texas
  3. Madison, Wis.
  4. Harrisburg, Pa.
  5. Cincinnati
  6. Orlando, Fla.
  7. Wichita, Kan.
  8. Gainesville, Fla.
  9. Albany, N.Y.
  10. Nashville, Tenn.

“This study can help military retirees find a place to live that makes the most of their benefits, including a pension and healthcare, while providing job opportunities for those seeking a new career,” said Eric Engquist, assistant vice president of military transitions at USAA. “Early planning with this list and USAA’s other transition resources, such as the military separation checklist and assessment tool, can help alleviate some of the stress involved with transitioning back into civilian life.”

“Our mission is to help the more than 1.5 million service members expected to leave the military find meaningful employment,” said Eric Eversole, vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and executive director of Hiring Our Heroes. “This list identifies the top places for veterans to use their discipline and determination to succeed in civilian workplaces.

USAA, a leading financial services provider to the military community and their families, and Hiring Our Heroes, a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, commissioned Sperling’s BestPlaces and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University to create or provide data for the list. The four organizations worked together to determine measurable variables for 379 major U.S. metropolitan areas, which are defined as one or more central cities including the surrounding county or counties. The variables for the Military Retirement list included:


  • Military Installation Proximity/Offerings
  • VA Hospital Proximity/Offerings
  • Military Pension Taxation
  • Veteran Wage Growth
  • Certification/License Transfers
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Population Growth
  • Military Skills Jobs
  • Government Jobs
  • Defense Contractor Jobs
  • Supervisor/Manager Jobs
  • Job Growth
  • Health Resources



Each variable was weighted and each metro area was then ranked based on its total points for all variables. Metro areas with the following attributes were excluded from the list: unemployment rate more than one percent above the national average, violent crime in the top two percentile, median cost of living more than 10 percent above the national average, and Medical Treatment Facilities beyond the 100-mile radius included in the TRICARE Prime access waiver agreement. More information about this year’s criteria can be found at


“Fifty-three percent of veterans reported their transition from military service as ‘difficult’ in a recent joint survey with Blue Star Families,” said James Schmeling, managing director at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. “Research like this can play a role in helping veterans plan for that transition and think about how to make the most of their benefits and skills.”

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