Killeen ranked 21st medium-sized city in Military Times’ “Best for Vets: Places to Live 2019.”
Military Times evaluated 599 places, as designated by the U.S. Census Bureau, dividing them into 282 small cities with populations of fewer than 100,000; 234 medium-sized cities with populations between 100,000-250,000; and 83 large cities with populations of 250,000 or more,
Locations were compared across three broad categories: veteran and military culture and services, economic indicators — some veteran-specific and some not — and livability factors such as crime, health, school quality and traffic. Each of the three categories were of comparable value in the evaluation, but economic indicators and veteran and military culture and services were weighed more heavily than livability factors.
The number of nearby organizations listed in other MilitaryTimes’ Best for Vets rankings was also considered when evaluating locations for this study. These include Best for Vets: Colleges 2018, Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2018, Best for Vets: Employers 2018, and Best for Vets: Franchises 2018.
Killeen had organizations listed in two categories — Central Texas College ranked third in the Best for Vets: Colleges in the 2018 Online & Nontraditional Schools category and several franchises on the Best for Vets: Franchises 2018 listing are located in Killeen, but the list does not specifically list which are veteran-owned in this community.
“The fact that so many veterans choose to live in Killeen after being stationed at Fort Hood comes as no surprise to area leaders,” according to a news release from the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce.
As the largest city neighboring one of the largest Army posts in the nation, Killeen has long had a substantial veteran population.
“The city prides itself on supporting the military, and the soldiers appreciate that,” Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra said. “Over the past decade, Killeen has grown exponentially while the number of Fort Hood soldiers has decreased. Much of this growth can be attributed to soldiers and their families staying in the area after exiting the military because they like what this community has to offer. This is demonstrated by the fact that Killeen has the highest percentage of veterans of any city in the top-50 rankings.”
Retired Col. Keith Sledd, executive director of the Killeen-based Heart of Texas Defense Alliance, is one such retiree who chose to make the Fort Hood area his home after his time in the Army.
“This study is one more indicator of just how great the Killeen/Central Texas area is for veterans, soldiers and their families. Killeen’s selection as No. 21 out of 289 medium-sized cities reflects the many advantages the area offers. These advantages include low cost of living, access to military and VA health care facilities, access to recreation, the third-lowest state for individual taxes and the list goes on,” Sledd said.
Killeen was recognized as the most patriotic city in Texas by Insurify in May, an accolade that augments this most recent ranking. The Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, Killeen Economic Development Corporation and 14 Forward Foundation will continue to work with community partners to encourage continued growth and recognition, according to the release.