Just One-Third of Military Families Recommend Service — Down from 55 Percent in 2016

by State Brief

Just one-third of military families say they would recommend service, down from 55 percent who said the same in 2016.

The findings are from a comprehensive annual survey, with over 7,400 responses, conducted by Blue Star Families in conjunction with Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

According to a report from Military.com, some of the top issues cited for not recommending service include poor job opportunities for spouses, poor mental and physical healthcare services, and housing concerns.

“Other key findings of the survey showed that military members and families were greatly concerned with pay, spousal employment, access to affordable child care and housing options, echoing concerns raised by top military officials earlier this year,” the report explained. “Nearly half of respondents were concerned with spousal employment, 38% with time spent away from family, 37% with pay, and 36% and 33% concerned about housing and children’s education, respectively.”

The survey found that 73 percent of active duty-affiliated respondents pay more than $200 a month for civilian housing options and 48 percent of active duty families say they have financial stress due to housing costs.

The pollsters also found that one in six active-duty respondents are struggling with food insecurity.

The report states, “The findings within the Blue Star Families survey heavily support the suggestion that service members cannot keep up with increasing inflation, food, housing and health care costs. Of its active-duty respondents, one in six reported food insecurity, the survey showed. Among enlisted members, reported food insecurity was even higher, suffered by one in four families, according to the survey.”

“We are still in credit card debt from our PCS,” an active-duty Army spouse told the pollsters. “Cost of living is rising. My children are young and need balanced meals. I spend my entire civilian paycheck on child care. We buy cheap food and skip where we can.”

The survey was conducted from May through July 2023.

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