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10 Places You Should Live If You’re a Native Veteran Retiree

A look at the top 10 states with federally recognized tribes in regards to their service for U.S. military retirees.

In honor of Memorial Day and with the intention to help ease the burden of our nation’s military community, Wallethub, a website dedicated to helping consumers and small business owners to make better financial decisions, generated a list of states most beneficial to military retirees.

Taking into consideration such factors as state tax policies, friendliness of different job markets and factoring the fact the average officer is 45 years old upon retiring and enlisted is about 41, The list of states were ranked with further considerations to Economic environment, quality of life and health care.

All considered we extracted the top ten states in accordance with their associated vibrant Native communities. Our list: the Best States for Military Retirees with an emphasis on Indian Country.


Wyoming ranks No. 1 overall as the fourth highest in terms of an economic environment, third ranking in quality of life and fifth in health care. There are also nearly 10 out of 100 inhabitants that are veterans. There are two federally recognized tribes in the state, the Northern Arapahoe and Eastern Shoshone Tribes of the Wind River Reservation which is home to approximately 4,216 Eastern Shoshone and 9,862 Northern Arapaho. Wyoming also takes the top spot for highest number of VA health facilities per 10,000 veterans at 3.01.


Coming in at No. 3 on the list, Montana is home to several Indian Nations to include the Crow Tribe, Blackfeet, Confederated Salish and Kootenai and several others. Known for its amazing skylines, Montana aka Big Sky Country, it ranks 17 economically, its No. 4 quality of life and No. 1 rank for health care. Montana also sits at No. 1 for most veteran-owned businesses per 1,000 inhabitants at 12.17. The state sits in third for highest number of VA health facilities per 10,000 veterans at 1.87.

South Dakota

The state of South Dakota which is home to 9 tribes to include Cheyenne River Sioux, Oglala Sioux, Rosebud Sioux, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and several more nabs the No. 4 spot with a 10 in Economic, 10 in Quality of Life and 6 in healthcare. South Dakota also ranks No. 2 as the state with the highest number of VA Health facilities (at 1.98) per 10,000 veterans.


Home to the Omaha, Ponca, Santee Sioux, Winnebago and others, Nebraska grabbed the No. 5 spot in best states for retirees. With economics at 14 and a quality of life ranking of 12, Nebraska secures a relatively high spot because it is only second to New Hampshire in the highest healthcare ranking.


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Alaska sits at No. 6 for military retirees, and being home to 200-plus federally recognized tribes, there is sure to be a solid showing of Native retired veterans in the state. Add an economic rank of 6, with a 15 quality of life and an 11 in health care, Alaska is a shoe-in for the top ten.


With over 482,000 people of Native descent and nearly 40 federally recognized tribes, Oklahoma is truly deserving of a top ten spot for military retirees. Ranked at No. 9 Oklahoma ranks No. 2 in economics (just below No. 1 ranked Mississippi) with a 14 quality of life and 18 in healthcare. Oklahoma is also tied for first place with Arkansas in the nation’s lowest housing costs.

North Dakota

With a rank of 11, North Dakota is home to several Native tribes to include the Spirit Lake, the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Bethold, Standing Rock Sioux and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. With economics at 9, quality of life at 25 and health care ranked at 12, North Dakota ranks as the state with the fourth highest number of VA Health facilities (at 1.78) per 10,000 veterans and fourth in most vet job opportunities. The state sits in fourth for highest number of VA health facilities per 10,000 veterans at 1.78.


Home to the Ute tribal nations, Colorado is ranked at No. 14 most desirable state for vet retirees. With a 13 economic, 11th in quality of life and 29th in health care, Colorado is fifth in terms of vet job opportunities.


Home to 11 state recognized tribes, 15th ranked Virginia looks likely to welcome its first federally recognized tribe if all goes well for the Pamunkey Tribe. With its economic rank of 8 and a quality of life ranked 6th, Virginia can overcome a worst-ranked health care of 51st (District of Columbia was ranked separately) place due to its lowest percentage of homeless veterans in the country. The state takes the top ranking for lowest percentage of homeless veterans per number of veterans at .086 percent. It also comes in third for most veteran job opportunities.

New Mexico

New Mexico pulls up the rear of our list ranked at 16. With its more than 20 federally recognized tribes and pueblos to include the Navajo, Jicarilla Apache Nation and Pueblos of Acoma, Jemez, Picuris and many more, New Mexico. stayed high on the retiree desirable list with a health care of 10 even though economics is 33, and quality of life is 20.

Of Note: Hawaii – Native Hawaiians will be glad to know their state sits just outside the top ten at No. 12. Holding the 21st ranking for Economic and Quality of Life, while being sixth for health care.