Which States Are Best For Veterans To Succeed In Business?

Just in time for Veterans Day, find out how each state ranked on Lendio's study of the best states for veterans to succeed in business.

Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway has a net worth of $115 billion. Nike’s Phil Knight has a net worth of $39 billion. Frederick Smith of FedEx has a net worth of $5.8 billion.

What do these three men have in common, besides being tremendously wealthy business owners?

Veterans in Business
(Credit: Adobe Stock / BillionPhotos.com)

They’re all veterans: Buffett served in the Nebraska National Guard, Knight was in the U.S. Army, and Smith served in the U.S. Marine Corp during the Vietnam War.

Veterans are an industrious group. According to Lendio, the median income for veterans was $50,476 in 2022, compared to $38,254 among nonveterans.

An entrepreneurial spirit may account for much of veterans’ success as business owners. With that in mind, and just in time for Veterans Day, Lendio conducted a study to determine the Best States for Veterans to Succeed in Business using recent data from the Census Bureau, BLS, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The ranking was based on six metrics — veterans’ income, employment, business ownership, startup survival, patent innovation, and new business growth — split into two subcategories: veteran labor market and entrepreneurship.

Once the calculations were done, the three states that came out on top were Virginia, Wyoming, and Oregon. Here’s a closer look at why each one landed at the top of the list:

  1. Virginia: 58.7% of veterans in Virginia are employed and their average earnings are 1.6 times higher than nonveterans—better rates than anywhere else in the U.S.
  2. Wyoming: Wyoming scores well for both subcategories: 8th for the veteran labor market and 6th for entrepreneurship. The state saw a 42.7% increase in new business applications year over year, the highest rate in the country, and the median income for veterans is 1.4 times higher than that of nonveterans.
  3. Oregon: Oregon lands in the middle of the pack for the veteran labor market, but its strong environment for entrepreneurs lifted it to the number three spot. The state reports 96.4 patents per 100,000 population, while 58.4% of startups survive at least five years, the highest rate in the U.S.

10 Best States For Veterans
To Succeed In Business

        1. Virginia

        2. Wyoming

        3. Oregon

        4. West Virginia

        5. South Dakota

        6. Massachusetts

        7. Alaska

        8. New Hampshire

        9. New Mexico

        10. Maryland

Source: Lendio

BF Editors’ Blog: Veterans Key To Workforce Development

Veterans account for 5.6% of the U.S. workforce, outweigh civilians in management, business, financial operations occupations. Read more…

While the top three states clearly support veterans looking to establish or expand their businesses, support can be found across the U.S., according to the Lendio study. States that landed in the top five spots typically had high rates of veteran business ownership — 7.3% in West Virginia — as well as veteran employment — 58.5% in South Dakota. Also, states that placed high in the overall ranking struck a balance between being good for veteran workers and for those starting a business.

To learn more about where each state ranked on Lendio’s study of the best states for veterans to succeed in business, click here.


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