Research: Study says retired veterans love Idaho

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Military service is challenging enough. While our thanks is a good start, the last thing new veterans need is healthcare or housing problems as they readjust to civilian life and cope with the aftermath of combat.

May is Military Appreciation Month. And according to the latest study from finance site Wallet Hub, Idaho ranks high on appreciation: Ninth out of 51.

The American veteran’s profile is younger than some may assume, and complicated. The average newly retired officer is only 45. Many vets face tough challenges re-entering the job market, struggling with PTSD, disability, and homelessness. So they need support, especially during that transition.

The 2019 “Best and Worst States for Military Retirees” compared 50 states and D.C. across 29 key indicators of retirement-friendliness, from job opportunities and taxes to affordable housing and the quality of medical care.

The top 10 in order are: Virginia, Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Alaska, Minnesota, South Dakota, Idaho, and South Carolina. The five worst were Mississippi, New York, Vermont, Oregon, and D.C.

Idaho’s top 10 ranking is overall; individual metrics varied widely. We ranked first in state-supported hiring preferences, hospitals per capita, and academic credit for military service.

Other high marks include tax friendliness (8), job growth in 2018 (4), VA hospital quality (9), and good weather (5). But we could use some improvement, ranking in the bottom half for share of veteran-owned businesses (43), total VA spending and number of VA facilities per vet-capita, and share of homeless vets (38).

The most tragic area where Idaho desperately needs improvement is veteran suicides. We rank near the bottom at 47.

Back on the national level, here’s a bit more from the 2019 infographic “Memorial Day by the Numbers,” compiled with government data:

• 45 million veterans (15 million currently living) have served the country in wartime.

• 656,000 lost their lives in conflict.

• 96 members of the 116th Congress are vets.

• New York was the first state to recognize Memorial Day in 1873.

• 1.5 million Americans watch the national Memorial Day parade — with more than 1,000 active duty service members participating — on TV.

“Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. The greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver, the less he demands in slaughter.” — Winston S. Churchill

For more on the study, see: Bit.ly/1Rc43jH

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Sholeh Patrick is a columnist for the Hagadone News Network. Contact her at Sholeh@cdapress.com.

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