Every year, Blue Star Families (BSF) conducts a survey on military family lifestyle. Earlier in 2017, over 7,800 people responded to the survey, including military spouses, active duty service members, veterans and military family members. BSF prides itself on conducting the largest survey of military families.
Each year, the results can simultaneously surprise and confirm the military community’s suspicions. But what do these numbers actually tell us?
Military families are concerned about the time they spend apart
Time apart is a given in the military; however, among the respondents of the 2017 survey, 46 percent of military families identify time away from family as a top concern. 40 percent have experienced at least six months apart in the last 18 months.
And this may be the kicker: During the last two years, 72 percent of military families “feel the current OPTEMPO exerts and unacceptable level of stress.” Military families are still feeling overwhelmed by the burden of deployments and almost two decades of war.
Military families are concerned about their children
The top concern of parents in the BSF survey is their children’s futures. 56 percent of military families feel the DoD does not provide enough or adequate support to help military children deal with all of the challenges.
This particular issue may very well affect the future of the military, as for the third year in a row, military service members report a reluctance to encourage their own children to join the military. The survey also saw a decrease of 17 percent from 2016 in service members’ willingness to recommend service to a young person who is not their child.
Military families want to be involved with their communities
Though 51 percent of respondents feel they don’t belong in their local civilian community, 31 percent have not had an in-depth conversation with a civilian in their community in the last month. Although almost half feel they aren’t supported by their local civilian community, it’s hard to know if they are part of the large percentage who volunteer in the community.
Want to know more about what the 2017 Blue Star Families Annual Survey says? The official results have been released today, and you can find them here.
By Rebecca Alwine