The strong association between motorcycles and America’s military started with World War One when Harley-Davidson and Indian bikes served together on the front-lines. Many agree the current popularity for riding was ignited when servicemen returning from World War Two took to the saddle, giving the two-wheeled past time some of its more notable features such as decorated jackets, terminology used in group rides and even how motorcycle clubs are structured and run.
It shouldn’t be surprising then to see motorcycle manufacturers continuing to understand the close relationship between bikes and military personnel. Honoring their service and dedication to country, Indian, Victory and Harley-Davidson lay down corporate dollars in various forms to pay tribute to those who’ve made the sacrifice of donning a uniform.
Harley-Davidson, motorcycles and World War One
But what about everyday life? Many agree the Country has a duty to return the favor by providing veterans with adequate benefits such as quality health care and help with housing and education upon re-entering civilian life. A recent study by WalletHub looked at just that and Clutch and Chrome reviews the findings to help the veterans in our riding community know which part of the country offers the best life for them after their service.
In order to determine the best places for veterans to live, WalletHub’s analysts compared 100 of the most populated U.S. cities across four key dimensions: 1) Employment, 2) Economy, 3) Quality of Life and 4) Health. Drilling down in the four categories, twenty-one further relevant metrics were used including Military Skill-Related Jobs, Veteran Unemployment Rate, Veteran-Owned Businesses per Veteran Population and crime rates.
The most outstanding finding, benefits related to veterans are not evenly distributed across cities. Although certain conditions have improved for veterans, both unemployment and homelessness have declined for this group, other issues still require attention from various levels of government.
Looking at the overall results, Texas treats veterans the best, enjoying three cities in the top five, Laredo, Plano which is near Dallas and Austin. Irvine gave a showing for California and Scottsdale Arizona was ranked number one in the overall chart. Coincidentally, all of these areas offer decent year-round weather and some beautiful roads to ride.
Boston, Memphis, Cleveland, Newark and Detroit were in the bottom five accordingly. The full chart can be found on Wallethub’s website.
The best place for veterans to find a career after the military appears to be Arlington Texas, Tampa, Honolulu, Anchorage, Plano Texas and Lincoln Nebraska, all tied for number one. The highest veteran unemployment rate is also tied between Detroit, Bakersfield, Memphis, Santa Ana California, Cincinnati and St. Paul Minnesota.
The cities with the highest percentage of veterans living in poverty are Buffalo, Miami, San Bernardino, Detroit and Hialeah in Florida. Those with the lowest percentage, Plano and Garland, both in Texas and again near Dallas, Chesapeake, Fremont and Chula Vista, both in California.
Veterans in many cities wait too long, 115 days on average in Phoenix, for instance to see a mental-health professional, despite a $10 billion effort to expand their access to such care. Thousands this year also lost their GI Bill education benefits as a result of for-profit school closures.
No study is perfect and much depends on what a biker is looking for in the place they call home, but the report completed by Wallethub certainly should help those riders who have served the United States with a place to start in such a major decision.