Tomorrow, we’ll give thanks for the brave men and women who served in our armed forces. But for veterans in Miami, there’s little to celebrate; it turns out Miami is one of the very worst cities for vets in the nation.
The personal finance website WalletHub recently analyzed the best and worst cities for the 422,000 veterans struggling to find work in the U.S. According to their calculations, Miami came in 96th place, with especially lackluster ratings in military skill-related jobs, income, and — you guessed it — housing affordability. Even the weather was ranked poorly. Overall, Miami is just ahead of Boston, Newark, Hialeah, and Detroit.
That may be part of the reason why there are few vets here to begin with: In Miami, veterans make up only .01 percent of the population.
“Miami is a poor destination for vets,” says Jill Gonzalez of WalletHub, who helped analyze the data. “These are people we should be welcoming back into the workforce that can give back and boost the economy.”
Miami is next to last when it comes to the percentage of military skill-related jobs. For those who do have jobs, an average income of $22,000 per year makes it difficult for most veterans to get by here. Amid skyrocketing housing prices and limited housing assistance, 17 percent of local vets live below the poverty line.
In fact, among 100 cities, Miami came in dead last in housing affordability for veterans.
“When you think of housing affordability, you think San Francisco, New York, L.A., but Miami really did worse than all of them,” Gonzalez says.
Regarding health-care facilities and hospitals, Miami fared well in terms of benefits and facilities available to veterans. But when looking at the willingness of patients are to recommend those hospitals, “Miami could certainly use a bump,” Gonzalez says.
Last year, a New Times investigation revealed the deadly dysfunction of the Department of Veterans Affairs health-care system in Miami.
On the upside, Miami fared OK in job growth (25th) and educational opportunities (39th).
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Overall, the best U.S. cities for veterans are Irvine, California; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Raleigh, North Carolina, according to the report.
Gonzalez says the data should be used to inform policymakers who can create programs and policies to encourage business owners to hire veterans. There should also be entrepreneurial incentives available, she says.
“Almost 60 percent of veterans who were retired from the military in 2012 due to a service-connected disability were under the age of 35,” Gonzalez says. “These people need to get back into the workforce; they have the rest of their lives to support themselves.”