Best Places to Live 2017: Large Cities

We evaluated 577 places on veteran culture and services, economic indicators and livability factors, including 79 large cities, with populations of 200,000 or more. The top 25 finishers are listed below.

The story | The methodology

Large Cities

Medium cities | Small cities

Best large cities: 200,000 people or more

Rank City Overall adult population Veteran population Military population Median home price Median monthly rent Nonveteran median income Veteran median income Civilian unemployment rate Veteran unemployment rate Number of installations within 25 miles (nearest) 2015 crime reports per 1,000 people GreatSchools rating Area health Best for Vets organizations within 25 miles
1 San Antonio 1,089,544 109,089 7,615 $126,600 $901 $24,833 $40,188 6.1% 4.6% 3 (Fort Sam Houston) 56.2 5.1 CE F
2 Virginia Beach, Va. 324,634 54,995 25,969 $262,900 $1,258 $32,608 $48,432 5.6% 5.1% 9 (Oceana NAS) 23.6 6.8 C T F
3 Colorado Springs, Colo. 338,690 49,291 9,951 $228,600 $985 $29,064 $42,806 6.7% 4.8% 4 (Peterson AFB) 40.9 5.7 CE F
4 San Diego 1,083,611 92,489 26,489 $526,900 $1,444 $31,583 $48,772 6.9% 5.7% 9 (Naval Medical Center San Diego) 24.8 6.7 C F
5 Lincoln, Neb. 213,474 14,694 529 $155,100 $770 $27,256 $46,199 3.1% 1.3% 0 no data 5.9 C F
6 Oklahoma City 463,835 41,843 3,459 $148,500 $814 $28,273 $41,955 4.4% 5.3% 1 (Tinker AFB) 47.6 6.8 C F
7 Omaha, Neb. 332,986 24,503 627 $143,200 $813 $30,243 $37,302 4.1% 4% 1 (Offutt AFB) 41.1 5.3 CE F
8 Plano, Texas 217,589 11,719 98 $261,800 $1,223 $41,474 $51,310 3.6% 2% 0 19.6 8.0 CE F
9 Honolulu, Hawaii 289,879 23,213 6,025 $641,900 $1,394 $30,876 $41,777 3.6% 2.5% 8 (Fort Shafter) no data 6.0 F
10 Irvine, Calif. 204,129 5,532 42 $777,000 $2,070 $50,058 $65,055 4.9% 3.5% 1 (Seal Beach NAVWEAPSTA) 15.5 7.2 C F
11 El Paso, Texas 484,541 47,693 13,322 $118,500 $752 $21,903 $40,173 6.3% 6.4% 1 (Fort Bliss) no data 5.9 C F
12 Scottsdale, Ariz. 200,384 16,798 0 $434,700 $1,143 $41,898 $50,866 3.4% no data 0 no data 5.9 C F
13 St. Petersburg, Fla. 208,241 20,247 388 $170,000 $969 $27,372 $35,600 6.3% 5.6% 1 (Macdill AFB) 63.6 5.9 C F
14 Jacksonville, Fla. 653,989 75,432 11,794 $146,500 $963 $27,097 $40,371 7.2% 4.7% 3 (Jacksonville NAS) 43.2 4.8 C F
15 Kansas City, Mo. 364,599 24,710 161 $138,400 $833 $29,560 $39,135 5.2% 4.7% 0 58.9 6.1 C F
16 Tampa, Fla. 286,581 20,636 1,872 $189,800 $974 $25,432 $33,457 8.3% 2.1% 1 (Macdill AFB) 29.3 5.2 C F
17 Anchorage, Alaska 215,758 27,492 8,981 $302,500 $1,241 $36,060 $54,936 6.4% 2.9% 2 (Fort Richardson) 49.9 6.4 F
18 Mesa, Ariz. 360,154 31,808 112 $188,100 $892 $27,436 $32,903 5.8% 4.8% 0 29.5 5.9 C F
19 Arlington, Texas 285,870 17,050 101 $144,900 $964 $27,836 $42,381 4.3% 2.3% 1 (NAS JRB Fort Worth) 39.5 5.7 CE F
20 Henderson, Nev. 225,549 25,045 379 $273,800 $1,144 $33,091 $44,150 6% 4.3% 1 (Nellis AFB) 20.6 5.3 F
21 Aurora, Colo. 264,637 25,158 1,617 $227,300 $1,120 $30,911 $41,524 5.6% 7% 1 (Buckley AFB) 34 4.2 CE F
22 Austin, Texas 736,863 37,414 101 $282,700 $1,139 $34,226 $44,631 4.2% 5% 0 41.5 5.6 F
23 Lexington-Fayette, Ky. 248,361 16,661 132 $170,200 $816 $26,893 $42,406 4.8% 3.9% 0 no data 5.9 C F
24 Phoenix 1,151,463 72,388 805 $200,800 $922 $27,014 $34,291 6.2% 6.6% 1 (Luke AFB) no data 5.9 C F
25 Washington 550,226 25,963 4,164 $551,300 $1,417 $42,254 $51,957 7.3% 4.7% 14 (Pentagon) 57.2 5.7 CE F
    Key to Best for Vets categories:
  • C Colleges
  • T Technical and Career Colleges
  • B Business Schools
  • E Employers
  • F Franchises