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Survey: Indianapolis ranks among lowest in the nation for veteran quality of life

The Shrine Room inside the Indiana War Memorial in downtown Indianapolis. (WISH Photo/Hanna Mordoh)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new survey delivers a sharp blow to a longstanding point of pride in Indianapolis.

The city is widely hailed for the many ways it honors military service with monuments and memorials, and has long served as the home to the American Legion, but finance company WalletHub contends the city is one of the worst places in the country for a veteran to call home.

The 2023’s Best & Worst Places for Veterans to Live survey ranks America’s largest 100 cities. The authors say they developed the list by using a combination of 19 different metrics across four different categories: employment, economy, quality of life, and health.

Indianapolis falls in the bottom half in all four.

When forming the employment score, factors included the unemployment rate, the recent rate of job growth, and the number of veteran-owned businesses. Indianapolis ranks 54th out of 100.

The economy score includes the cost of housing, veteran income, and the rates of homelessness and unemployment. The city lands at 65th out of 100.

Quality of life ranking comes from factors like the overall veteran population and how many restaurants and entertainment venues offer discounts to veterans. The survey puts Indianapolis at a dismal 91st out of 100.

Health, the final category, comes largely from the number and quality of Veterans Affairs benefits and health care facilities. Indianapolis comes in among the very worst: 94th out of 100.

The overall result – Indianapolis lands at 95 out of the 100 cities on the list, ahead of only Detroit, Newark, Memphis, Chicago, and Jersey City.

Sunbelt states dominate the top of the survey. Raleigh, North Carolina, comes out on top, with high marks for Employment, Economy, and Quality of Life. Austin, Orlando, Tampa, and Virginia Beach round out the Top 5.

WalletHub is also touting its new Military Money Survey. The study looks at perceptions about life in the military. It finds more than half of all Americans think inflation hits military families harder than civilians. Nearly two-thirds think poor financial literacy among military personnel is a threat to national security.