This post is sponsored by Blue Star Families!
Have you heard of the Blue Star Families Annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey? This survey provides a comprehensive understanding of the experiences and challenges encountered by military families. It is a yearly snapshot of the state of military families.
The data from the survey isn’t just to share with military families, it is also there to help change things for the better. It helps to inform national leaders, local communities, and philanthropic actors. It helps increase dialogue between the military community and broader American society, minimizing the civilian-military divide and supporting the health and sustainability of the all-volunteer force.
Blue Star Families conducted its 10th annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey from May through June 2019. They had over 11,000 respondents, including active duty service members, veterans, National Guard, Reserve, and their immediate family members.
The Blue Star Families Annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey is the largest and most comprehensive survey of the military and their families.
There is a lot of information in the survey, so I wanted to highlight the top 10 takeaways based on the top trends and findings for 2019.
Military families act to offset the impact of relocation on their children’s education, an issue that continues to be a top-five issue of concern for respondents.
Military families have concerns around family stability and dependent children’s education. Some are either turning to homeschooling, or voluntary separation from their service member.
Availability and affordability of childcare are barriers that negatively impact service members’ pursuit of employment and/or education.
Not being able to find or afford good childcare is making it difficult to pursue employment or educational goals.
Military spouse respondents who are unemployed indicate their top challenge to working is service member day-to-day job demands making it difficult to balance work and home demands.
A service member’s day-to-day job demands is a top barrier to employment among military spouses. Top barriers do however differ when children are present.
Three-fourths of employed military spouse respondents experience some degree of underemployment; this issue persists among spouses of veterans.
77% of employed military spouses and 68% of veteran spouses report at least one circumstance of underemployment.
Potential impacts on a service member’s career is the most common reason for not seeking treatment for active-duty, National Guard, and Reserve family respondents who had seriously considered attempting suicide/had attempted suicide in the past year.
40% of military, veteran, National Guard, and Reserve family respondents, who had seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, and received help after the most recent incident, did not find it helpful and 8% couldn’t find that help at all.
Families enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) report difficulty obtaining specialty medical care in a reasonable amount of time after a relocation.
40% of military family respondents who have an EFMP Family Member are unable to obtain a referral and be seen by a specialist in a reasonable amount of time after relocating.
Military family respondents caring for a child with special needs report their community does not have all the resources their family needs.
More than a 3rd (36%) of military family respondents feel like their community doesn’t have all the recourses their family needs.
National Guard and Reserve families feel local civilian support agencies are not effective in addressing their needs.
Nearly one half of National Guard and Reserve families feel their local civilian support agencies are not effective in addressing their needs.
Military and veteran family respondents who perceive that civilians in their local communities have greater military family lifestyle competence feel a greater sense of belonging to that community.
40% of military family respondents don’t feel a sense of belonging to their local civilian community.
The majority of military families have a positive experience with their children’s schools but identify improvement opportunities related to the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.
The majority of families with school-aged children report their oldest child is thriving at school, but feel schools can improve.
Please take the time to head on over to Blue Star Families and download the survey results. There is a lot of information there, and it would be helpful for any military family member to read the results and learn more about the military community in general. Knowing what the struggles and frustrations as well as about what is going well for the military community is important.