Survey Reveals Many Mil Parents Don’t Want Their Children to Enlist


By Debbie Gregory.

In what would have been almost unheard of in past decades, a new  survey of military families revealed that a majority of active-duty military families — 57 percent of them — said they were unlikely to recommend that their own children join the service.

In the past, military families tended to remain military families. But the Blue Star Families survey revealed a shift, which could be due to the multiple deployments faced by current and recent servicemembers. In the past 15 years, servicemen and women have been sent on multiple rotations to conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Another factor, according to Kathy Roth-Douquet, president and CEO of Blue Star Families, is the cuts in benefits.

“It’s the reductions in forces at the same time as we are increasing our mission,” said Roth-Douquet.

Blue Star said 72 percent of active duty personnel and their spouses found the rate of deployments created too much stress for them. “Among active duty and military spouses who indicated they planned to leave service in the next two years, deployment was the top stressor for both groups with 83 percent and 85 percent, respectively,” the report reads.

Repeated moves also have a serious effect on military spouse employment. Many spouses cannot get or keep jobs. More than 20 percent are unemployed, the survey found, and many more are underemployed.

Fewer than half of military families in which one spouse is a civilian earn two incomes, compared to 66 percent of non-military couples, the survey found.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Military Connection: Military Family Survey Results: By Debbie Gregory

Blue starThe fifth annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey was conducted by Blue Star Families, a non-profit organization that is run for military families by military families. For their 2014 survey, the organization polled 6,270 individual members of military families, from all branches of service. The results show a growing concern about financial stability, and uncertainty about the future among military families.

  • 60% of those polled said that their financial situation caused them “some stress” or a “great deal of stress.”
  • 49% said that financial issues were a top stressor during their time in the military.
  • 40% polled said that the spouse of the service member was unemployed.
  • 38% said that they had uncertainty about their military lives.
  • 36% said that their costs for renting were higher than their BAH.
  • 34% were uncertain about the changes and potential changes to their family’s benefits.

These numbers show the amount of stress that many military families face, even with the benefits provided. Perhaps the government or the service branches could make efforts to utilize this information to improve, or at least reevaluate, how they provide and educate their personnel.

Other noteworthy data related to deployments and permanent changes of station:

  • 88% of the people surveyed said that their service member deployed between one and five times since September 11, 2001.
  • 47% said that their service member was deployed between 13 and 36 months in total.
  • 41% said that they were separated from their service member for 13-36 months for training, temporary duty and other assignments that were not deployments.
  • 69% said that their family has moved between one and six times within the U.S.
  • 42% said that their family has moved outside of the U.S.

This data shows just how much time service members are separated from their families. Of course, this is a well-known sacrifice that all service members make. But seeing the actual numbers is eye-opening for lawmakers and civilians alike

With the data provided by the Military Family Lifestyle Survey, government agencies, including the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, can better understand the struggles that military families face.

The survey can be viewed by visiting:

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Military Connection: Military Family Survey Results: By Debbie Gregory