Based on measures of economics, health care and quality of life, a new WalletHub study says that Illinois is one of the worst states in the country for military retirees to live.
Because military retirement is much more complex than retiring from most other professions, WalletHub used 20 different metrics to determine the best and worst states for military retirees.
For starters, the average officer is only 47.1 years old - and enlisted personnel even younger at 43.2 -- upon retirement from service. Most re-enter the job market. Military retirees, veterans in particular, must also deal with the trials of assimilation, which have proven especially difficult in the wake of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Rising numbers of young vets have encountered hardship and homelessness.
Of all 50 states and Washington D.C., Illinois ranks 46th for economic environment, 48th for quality of life and 20th for health care, which combines for an overall rank of 43 -- the ninth-worst in the country. Here's a breakdown of how the state ranked in some of WalletHub's key metrics.
Military Retirement in Illinois (1=Best; 25=Avg.)
- 46th -- Number of Veterans per 100 Inhabitants
- 29th - Percent of Homeless Veterans per Number of Veterans
- 45th - Job Opportunities for Veterans
- 50th - Number of Veteran-Owned Firms per 1,000 Inhabitants
- 39th - Number of VA Benefits Administration Facilities per Number of Veterans
- 22nd - Cost of Living Index
- 31st - Arts, Leisure & Recreation Establishments per 100,000 Inhabitants
- 35th - Percentage of Population Aged 40 & Older
The only other Midwestern state that joined Illinois among the top 10 worst was Indiana, which WalletHub ranked as the absolute worst state for retired military members. Conversely, Wyoming was ranked the best state, followed by Montana, South Dakota, Maine and Florida.
Check out Reboot Illinois to see what advice experts have for military personnel who are retiring and to see the full rankings of each states' best and worst areas for military retirees.
Sign up for our daily email to stay up to date with Illinois politics.
- Betcha didn't know these 30 fun Illinois facts!
- Weird place names in Illinois
- House approves bill to decriminalize marijuana in Illinois
- The top 20 most challenging high schools in Illinois
- Want to tell your elected officials what you think of the state of government in Illinois? Use our Sound Off tool.