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Charleston, SC tops list of cities again; Report includes location evaluation for military families, retired veterans, and best cities to buy a house

VIENNA, Va. (November 2, 2022) – Navy Federal Credit Union today released an updated and expanded Best Cities After Service list, a compilation of the best places for servicemembers to move to when they leave the military. As we approach Veterans Day, it’s important to acknowledge that more than 250,000 military members transition out of the service each year. Today’s economic challenges paired with an emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic, presented a need to execute a new assessment of locations that best support the needs of this community. 

Navy Federal worked with Sperling's Best Places to evaluate and rank 400 U.S. cities across the country based on a variety of quality of life metrics (veteran community, cost of living, etc.) and determined which cities best meet the needs of transitioning servicemembers.

To further the reach of this opportunity, Navy Federal is proud to announce a strategic partnership with The Mission Continues, a national nonprofit veteran service organization. This partnership was selected due to The Mission Continues’ ability to reach of tens of thousands of veterans and their families with this information, as well as the integral role they play in the support system that makes these communities such great places for veterans to work and live.

“The expanded version of this year’s report emphasizes the diversity of cities across the U.S. that can meet the needs of transitioning servicemembers,” said Clay Stackhouse, a retired Marine Corps colonel and regional outreach manager at Navy Federal. “This population of individuals is unique and with today’s economic challenges, it’s more important than ever that we support servicemembers and their families as they approach this pivotal, often challenging, moment.”

In the last five years of producing the “Best Of” resource, this is the most comprehensive report Navy Federal has produced. It is inclusive of an overall list of top cities, as well as sublists specific to military families, veterans looking to retire, and the best locations for this population to buy a house. 

Top 10 Best Cities After Service

  • Charleston, SC
  • Norristown, PA
  • Cambridge, MA
  • San Diego, CA
  • Naples, FL
  • Anchorage, AK
  • Derry, NH
  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Hempstead, NY
  • Waukegan, IL

Best Cities for Military Families:

  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Derry, NH
  • Norristown, PA
  • Charleston, SC
  • Columbus, OH

Best Cities for Retired Veterans

  • Tampa, FL
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Norristown, PA
  • Virginia Beach, VA

Best Cities to Buy a House

  • Altoona, PA
  • Florence, AL
  • Abilene, TX
  • Elizabethtown, KY
  • Muncie, IN

Navy Federal has presented its “Best Of” lists every year since 2018. Last year, Navy Federal developed Best Careers for Military Spouses—a comprehensive list of the best careers that take into consideration the military spouse job searching experience. In 2020 and 2018, Navy Federal published prior iterations of the Best Cities After Service list. In 2019, Navy Federal published the Best Careers After Service. 

"These 'Best Of' lists are tremendously valuable to The Mission Continues as we look to our growth plans in the coming years and seek to meet veterans and their families where they are in the country," said Marine Corps veteran Mary Beth Bruggeman, President of The Mission Continues. "At the same time, where we already have Mission Continues service platoons, we are proud to be part of the ecosystem of support that these veterans come home to. It's our honor to work with valued partners like Navy Federal who see the value in provide opportunities for our veterans to continue their service in their own hometowns.”

It is important to support our veteran community every day, not just once a year. In honor of Veterans and Military Families Month, Navy Federal is also donating $50,000 to further the work of The Mission Continues in empowering veterans to continue their service in their communities. For more information about how Navy Federal is celebrating Veterans Day this year, visit:

About Navy Federal Credit Union: Established in 1933 with only seven members, Navy Federal now has the distinct honor of serving over 12 million members globally and is the world’s largest credit union. As a member-owned and not-for-profit organization, Navy Federal always puts the financial needs of its members first. Membership is open to all Department of Defense and Coast Guard Active Duty, veterans, civilian and contractor personnel, and their families. Navy Federal employs a workforce of over 21,000 and has a global network of 355 branches. For more information about Navy Federal Credit Union, visit Federally insured by NCUA. Equal Opportunity Employer.

About The Mission Continues: The Mission Continues is a national veterans organization dedicated to empowering veterans as community-based leaders. We invest in veterans and under-resourced communities, developing new skill sets and equipping a growing veteran volunteer movement with the tools to drive positive change. We deploy veteran volunteers in more than 40 cities nationwide alongside nonprofit partners and community leaders to improve educational resources, address food insecurity, increase access to parks and green spaces, foster neighborhood identity, and more. Through this unique model, veterans are provided opportunities for personal connection and professional growth while generating visible community impact. This work is made possible through the generous contributions of our mission partners. To learn more, visit