Best Places to Live 2017: Medium Cities

We evaluated 577 places on veteran culture and services, economic indicators and livability factors, including 244 medium-sized cities, with populations of at least 75,000 but fewer than 200,000. The top 50 finishers are listed below.

The story | The methodology

Medium Cities

Large cities | Small cities

Best medium cities: 75,000-199,999 people

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 Alexandria, Va. 122,994 10,635 2,962 $541,700 $1,627 $50,814 $96,429 3.4% no data 13 (Headquarters, Marine Corps) 20.8 4.2 C E F
2 Arlington, Va. 186,885 12,719 2,272 $655,000 $1,844 $64,524 $90,065 4.1% 2.5% 14 (Fort Myer) no data 7.0 C E F
3 Centennial, Colo. 85,137 7,226 121 $369,800 $1,570 $45,133 $59,372 3.3% no data 1 (Buckley AFB) 13.2 5.8 C E F
4 Olathe, Kan. 92,981 6,042 129 $207,700 $912 $36,796 $54,065 4% 4.1% 0 16.9 7.9 C F
5 Columbia, Md. 77,933 6,526 396 $368,300 $1,614 $51,794 $66,424 4.4% 9% 9 (Fort George G. Meade) no data 7.9 C E F
6 Chesapeake, Va. 170,226 29,772 8,191 $259,200 $1,218 $34,893 $51,149 5.4% 3.1% 9 (NSA Northwest Annex) no data 6.0 C T F
7 Chandler, Ariz. 192,639 15,870 301 $273,600 $1,153 $37,435 $45,101 4% 1.7% 0 22.7 5.9 C F
8 Overland Park, Kan. 144,264 10,461 0 $249,000 $1,022 $41,764 $47,354 3.6% 1.8% 0 20.5 7.9 C F
9 Bellevue, Wash. 111,402 5,382 135 $645,300 $1,693 $50,700 $66,250 3.1% 2.4% 1 (Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton) 32.6 6.8 E F
10 Carlsbad, Calif. 87,650 6,031 266 $704,600 $2,032 $46,227 $75,279 4.3% 4.1% 2 (Camp Pendleton) 20.2 6.7 C F
11 Cary, N.C. 121,104 7,426 0 $322,200 $1,085 $46,276 $57,754 3.5% 1.8% 0 13 6.5 F
12 Hampton, Va. 102,959 19,638 4,729 $183,700 $1,053 $26,914 $47,014 6.1% 4.8% 10 (Langley AFB) 35.7 4.2 C T F
13 Pearland, Texas 80,453 5,621 149 $207,800 $1,348 $49,632 $55,195 3.5% no data 0 22 6.3 C E F
14 Frisco, Texas 103,558 6,297 484 $332,100 $1,355 $60,449 $59,419 3.9% 1.9% 0 16.7 8.0 C E F
15 Lakewood, Colo. 122,817 9,988 48 $305,500 $1,155 $32,906 $39,509 3.6% 4% 1 (Buckley AFB) no data 6.8 C E F
16 Carrollton, Texas 100,068 5,720 0 $193,400 $1,088 $36,121 $51,056 3% no data 0 no data 8.0 C E F
17 Mission Viejo, Calif. 79,253 4,713 50 $648,600 $1,916 $40,927 $52,171 5.6% 3.1% 1 (Camp Pendleton) 12 7.2 C F
18 Gilbert, Ariz. 171,420 10,817 0 $284,800 $1,323 $39,683 $52,030 3.9% 1.8% 0 14.2 5.9 C F
19 Hillsboro, Ore. 76,570 6,625 0 $276,600 $1,256 $35,762 $42,190 6.8% 3% 1 (Portland IAP AGS) 6 7.0 C F
20 Surprise, Ariz. 92,849 11,109 457 $213,900 $1,187 $31,868 $47,067 8.4% 5.2% 1 (Luke AFB) 18.3 5.9 F
21 Charleston, S.C. 113,537 9,368 263 $293,500 $1,119 $32,438 $38,132 4.5% 11.4% 3 ((C3) Charleston NAVSTA) 26.8 6.2 T F
22 Huntington Beach, Calif. 161,774 10,454 99 $718,700 $1,708 $38,885 $50,180 5.3% 2.1% 1 (Seal Beach NAVWEAPSTA) 26.4 7.2 C F
23 Arvada, Colo. 90,037 8,930 59 $303,600 $1,188 $38,821 $48,101 4.6% 3.6% 1 (Buckley AFB) 27 4.2 C E F
24 Brandon, Fla. 89,610 9,417 617 $165,700 $1,095 $30,356 $41,194 6.8% 4.7% 1 (Macdill AFB) no data 5.2 C F
25 Boise, Idaho 165,729 16,004 578 $209,900 $864 $29,329 $37,965 5.4% 9.1% 0 25.8 6.8 C F
26 Tacoma, Wash. 163,800 19,040 2,129 $218,900 $987 $28,494 $35,929 6.5% 5.3% 4 (McChord AFB) no data 5.5 C F
27 Sandy Springs, Ga. 80,719 3,015 287 $415,000 $1,147 $42,105 $72,378 3.8% no data 0 25.5 5.2 C T E F
28 Rochester, Minn. 84,418 6,888 0 $170,800 $864 $34,870 $44,343 4.3% 0.1% 0 24.4 6.2 F
29 Chula Vista, Calif. 194,391 12,368 2,647 $440,400 $1,360 $28,457 $50,959 6.9% 6% 9 (San Diego NAVSTA) 20.1 6.7 C F
30 Round Rock, Texas 84,057 6,804 86 $205,100 $1,109 $35,805 $49,488 5.1% 4.9% 0 20.8 6.1 F
31 Clarksville, Tenn. 98,274 20,803 12,036 $145,400 $915 $24,958 $35,021 7.2% 5.6% 1 (Fort Campbell) 34.5 7.8 C F
32 North Charleston, S.C. 80,161 9,651 2,949 $160,000 $940 $25,134 $40,352 6.7% 5.4% 3 (Charleston AFB) 60.5 5.5 T F
33 Sioux Falls, S.D. 129,857 8,658 124 $166,100 $745 $30,833 $39,234 4.1% 1.9% 0 37.9 5.7 F
34 Peoria, Ariz. 125,748 13,019 54 $223,000 $1,116 $31,744 $43,512 5.4% 3% 1 (Luke AFB) 21.4 5.9 F
35 Glendale, Ariz. 176,993 13,241 1,250 $181,000 $867 $26,175 $39,084 6.3% 8.5% 1 (Luke AFB) 57.8 5.9 C F
36 Richardson, Texas 86,028 4,797 49 $226,000 $1,273 $36,913 $48,054 3.7% 8.3% 0 21.5 8.0 C E F
37 The Woodlands, Texas 83,195 8,351 60 $347,100 $1,633 $50,813 $60,000 3.3% 4.7% 0 no data 5.5 F
38 Kent, Wash. 95,612 7,985 0 $282,300 $1,178 $30,857 $45,838 6.1% 3.3% 2 (McChord AFB) 51.2 6.8 C E F
39 Oceanside, Calif. 136,317 18,051 2,291 $421,000 $1,505 $29,779 $41,534 7.7% 7% 1 (Camp Pendleton) 30.1 6.7 C F
40 Norfolk, Va. 171,637 29,445 25,092 $204,800 $987 $25,703 $44,542 9.1% 6% 11 (Norfolk Naval Base) 42.4 3.8 C T F
41 Norman, Okla. 96,498 5,578 360 $180,000 $848 $24,430 $41,687 4.6% 3.3% 1 (Tinker AFB) 12.6 6.9 F
42 Beaverton, Ore. 76,119 4,645 0 $333,000 $1,080 $33,071 $44,808 7.8% 5.9% 1 (Portland IAP AGS) 3.6 7.0 C F
43 Torrance, Calif. 118,455 8,459 0 $713,000 $1,566 $37,418 $47,893 5.3% 10% 2 (Los Angeles AFB) 20.7 5.6 C T F
44 Fayetteville, N.C. 135,774 28,089 17,360 $121,700 $871 $22,213 $39,062 11.5% 6.6% 2 (Fort Bragg) 50.8 5.7 C T F
45 Clearwater, Fla. 93,902 10,631 22 $173,600 $984 $26,605 $32,556 7% 5.4% 1 (Macdill AFB) 45.2 5.9 C F
46 Huntsville, Ala. 150,388 16,637 299 $175,100 $745 $26,054 $45,836 6.7% 5.6% 1 (Redstone Arsenal) 51.2 7.0 E F
47 Manchester, N.H. 88,219 5,473 46 $209,200 $1,064 $29,654 $42,955 5.3% 3% 1 (Portsmouth Naval Shipyard) 43.5 5.7 C F
48 Newport News, Va. 131,391 18,896 8,359 $196,400 $952 $27,653 $42,041 7.6% 9.2% 8 (Fort Eustis) 35.1 3.7 C F
49 Naperville, Ill. 108,556 4,545 153 $399,200 $1,381 $47,652 $56,493 4.5% no data 0 12.4 8.1 C E F
50 McKinney, Texas 114,586 8,082 67 $254,000 $1,221 $43,978 $53,803 3.6% 6.2% 0 18.1 8.0 C F
    Key to Best for Vets categories:
  • C Colleges
  • T Technical and Career Colleges
  • B Business Schools
  • E Employers
  • F Franchises