New List: The Best Places to Start Post-Military Life

boat sailing in a parade
A military themed float sails by the San Antonio Riverwalk at the Texas Cavaliers River Parade held during Fiesta. (Giselle Christmas/DVIDS)

If you're one of the thousands of military families looking to transition out of the force over the next few years, you're about to make a big decision -- where to look for a job and settle down.

For many military families who have spent years seeing the world courtesy of Uncle Sam, the answer to this question is pretty simple: near extended family.

But many transitioning families just want to go where the jobs and lifestyle are welcoming. And that's why USAA, in partnership with the US Chamber's Hiring Our Heroes program, commissioned a study that produced this list.

Working with Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families and Sperling’s BestPlaces, a company that analyzes data about locations and people.

For this breakdown, researchers looked at metro areas that have opportunities for veterans to use their Post-9/11 G.I. bill, while also finding a job that may match their military skills.

Speaking of military skills and jobs, you should use the Military.com Skills Translator to figure out what job you may be qualified for when you get out.

The 2014 “Best Places for Veterans: Starting Out” list identified U.S. metro areas that offer more opportunities to leverage Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits, while also finding employment that aligns with military skills. They also looked at factors like the unemployment rate, population growth and health resources.

Out of the 379 locations they analyzed, here's what they came up with for the top 10 BEST places to live as a transitioning veteran:

1. Pittsburgh, Penn.

2. Austin, Texas

3. Oklahoma City, Okla.

4. San Antonio, Texas

5. St. Louis, Mo.

6. Columbus, Ohio

7. State College, Penn.

8. Cincinnati, Ohio

9. College Station, Texas

10. Minneapolis, Minn.

I think it's really fascinating that three of these cities are in Texas and Ohio and Pennsylvania both have two. Although Texas doesn't really surprise me, before I looked at the list I did not suppose that Ohio and Pennsylvania were on it.

Remember, this study focuses on education and military job-to-civilian job transfer. There are a lot of other factors to consider when you move to a place (and I don't JUST mean the ocean view that I require, but it's certainly a part of it).

How are you planning to pick your "forever home" location?

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