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Lexington Ranks Low In Annual "Best And Worst Cities For Veterans" Survey


Consumer and small business financial site WalletHub.com has ranked Lexington near the bottom of 100 communities surveyed this year for its annual “Best and Worst Cities for Veterans” study.

Using 18 metrics ranging from the availability of jobs ideal for those with military training to the city’s crime rate, the site calculated that Lexington ranked the 10th worst on its list – dragged down in part by a relatively high proportion of vets living under the poverty line, 16 percent.

WalletHub spokesperson Jill Gonzalez says Lexington scored higher for educational opportunities – 39th – but more can always be done.

"Education assistance is really one of the top things that these vets need," she says. "A lot of times, veterans who are retired from the military due to a service-connected disability are far below the age of 35. A lot of them want to be going back to school or going to school."

But Anthony Dotson, coordinator for the Office of Veterans Resources at the University of Kentucky, says adjusting to life in the classroom can be its own uphill battle.

"A lot of them struggle in the classroom because they don't feel like they fit in. It's a traditional classroom environment and... the biggest mistake I think our instructors make is just putting them all in one box and saying, 'Well if you're a veteran, you must do this.'"

Lexington’s 2015 scores mark a radical departure from the previous 2014 survey results, which showed the city in the top 12. Gonzalez says the drop is likely due to changes in the methodology, which now place more focus on housing affordability and patient care reviews.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.