According to a new analysis military towns rank as both the bottom of the barrel and the cream of the crop among the nation's top 150 most populated cities. And I bet you can guess which ones go where.
The ranking, conducted by Wallet Hub, looked at 30 different "key metrics" like housing costs, school quality, local recreation and health care. Using the results from each of those categories they ranked the cities one to 150.
Military families, of course, don't have a choice where they move. But it is nice to know where you're going is the best of the best -- or brace yourself if it is the worst of the worst.
So what are the results?
Among the worst locations that were also military towns are:140. Hialeah, Florida -- home to Coast Guard Air Station Miami
141. Washigton, D.C. -- home to, well, a ton including the Marine Corps Barracks at 8th and I and Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.
144. Shreveport, Lousianan -- home to Barksdale Air Force Base
147. Miami, Florida -- home to US SOUTHCOM
But don't fear, it's not all bad news: you could get stationed somewhere is among the best for families the nation has to offer.
Among the top 10 best large cities that were also military towns are:3. Virginia Beach, Virginia -- home to or very nearby a whole slew of Navy options
8. Chesapeake, Virginia -- again, very close to Navy land
9. Colorado Springs, Colorado -- home to Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base AND the U.S. Air Force Academy (and known among Army families as a top duty station pick -- good luck getting it).
The truth is that there is more that goes into deciding whether or not a city is a great family city for you than just good schools or nearby recreation, for example. And many military spouses know that this life is what you make of it. You can turn even the most awful duty station into a more pleasant experience with a good attitude (although you're still allowed to hate it in the end. But you do have to give it a try first).
But these rankings make me wonder -- if we all pooled our knowledge about our services could we make a top five worst and top five best family-friendly duty station cities for ourselves? And what would that look like?