Beavercreek was the top place for veterans to live in the nation out of nearly 1,300 cities surveyed by the web blog site NerdWallet.com.
Huber Heights landed at No. 49 out of 50 cities listed as the top cities for veterans, NerdWallet said.
The blog site’s survey looked at economic factors, veterans services and the number of veterans who live in a city in naming Beavercreek the top pick, according to Courtney Miller, a data analyst with the blog site in San Francisco.
“Almost every factor we looked at it was very strong, which is why it came out to be our No. 1 city,” she said.
The number of veterans who work in public administration or industry was a key factor in the ranking. Beavercreek scored highly in both areas, she said.
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NerdWallet reviewed 1,286 cities in its analysis.
Unemployment among veterans was at 3.2 percent in Beavercreek, well below the survey average of 8.9 percent in 2013 based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Miller said.
Beavercreek is home to a beltway of defense contractors outside the gates of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which is the headquarters for Air Force Materiel Command and the Air Force Research Laboratory. Both have a high percentage of civilian workers, many of whom are veterans.
NerdWallet found that 19 percent of Beavercreek’s adult population over age 18 were veterans, compared to 8.2 percent for cities in the entire survey.
“Many veterans have transitioned from the military and stayed in this area. We have a very strong defense contracting community here,” said Beavercreek Mayor Brian V. Jarvis, a 60-year-old Air Force veteran who also worked as a Northrop Grumman computer programmer writing software to fly jets.
Veterans earned an annual median income of $68,989 in the Dayton suburb compared to a median income of $38,000 for the entire survey, Miller said.
The percentage of veterans who fell below the poverty rate at least once in a year was 4.1 percent in Beavercreek compared to a survey average of 7 percent, she said.
Numerous veterans organizations, strong neighborhoods, a thriving retail district, and a low crime rate have added appeal to former service members, Jarvis said.
More regional employers have sought out veterans to add to their work forces in recent years, said Abby Reynolds, a spokeswoman for the Military Veterans Resource Center in Huber Heights, which provides services to obtain employment, housing, food, and transportation.
“It is a very military-friendly community,” she said. “I think that draws other veterans in the community who want to establish themselves in the area.”
NerdWallet noted, among several key factors, the presence of Wright-Patterson, the Miami Valley Military Affairs Association sponsorship of events, and employment help from OhioMeansJobs in Greene County. It also noted Honor Flight Dayton trips that transport veterans to see war memorials in Washington.
“As far as we’re concerned, as an office we try to be very generous and help our veterans as much as we can” when they come in for financial assistance or help to fill out forms to claim benefits, said Chris Chrystal, executive director of the Greene County Veteran Services Commission.
State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek and a former mayor of the city, said the state’s decision to eliminate income tax on veterans, provide access to Wright-Patterson’s base hospital and commissary, veteran-oriented job fairs, and college education programs geared toward former service members adds to the city’s attraction.
“When somebody gets ready to retire and looks at it, that has substance,” the Air Force veteran said. “It means something.”
Beavercreek city manager Michael Cornell, president of the Miami Valley Military Affairs Association, said veterans are “very active” in social, civic and political causes.
“There is on a regular basis very positive acknowledgement and appreciation in Beavercreek for those who have served our country,” he wrote in an email.