What Issues Face Military Families? Blue Star Families Survey Wants to Know

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Blue Star Families Survey Wants to Know
Military kids pose for a photo at a parade celebrating the Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force/Jonathan E. Ramos)

For more than a decade, Blue Star Families has brought anecdotal and statistical data to the forefront of discussions surrounding issues affecting military families. In 2020, 11,000 people responded to the survey that covers topics, including finances, family stability, moving, education and employment.

Since 2009, Blue Star Families has worked toward strengthening the voices of military families and connecting them with their civilian neighbors. Each year, they partner with Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families to prepare and analyze the survey results.

Last year, the top five issues for active-duty families were spouse employment, time away from family, children’s education, family quality of life and military pay. None of these topics was new to survey results, but the extra stressors of the pandemic made it worse. The survey adapted to gather data specifically in areas such as education and child care.

The 2021 Military Family Lifestyle Survey is open from April 27 through June 6 and can be accessed here. The survey is open to service members, families and veterans, including National Guard and Reserves.

Blue Star Families has a goal of 10,000 participants this year. After taking the survey, BSF asks that you share the link with friends, family groups and on social media.

The survey takes 25-30 minutes to complete, and all answers are confidential. If you answer with specific details in text, your name will be removed before the quote is shared in presentations or reports. Also, participation in the survey enters you for a drawing to win one of five $100 gift cards.

Participating in this survey is one way to make sure your voice is heard and the military family as a whole is heard. In the past, results have sparked conversations about spouse employment, financial stability, the effects of moving on military children and many other topics.

The 2018 survey results, for example, helped create change in several areas from health care to moving woes. One of the areas in which Blue Star Families has made the most impact is bridging the military-civilian divide. By encouraging local companies to hire military spouses, advocating for military children in school and rewarding civilian neighbors, military families are starting to feel like they belong.

Research from Blue Star Families surveys and pulse checks -- smaller surveys it does throughout the year -- have prompted conversations about family members’ concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and other current events.

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