This year Blue Star Families collaborated with the IVMF on its fifth annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey, which examines contemporary issues facing military families. The study provides a comprehensive picture of the needs and challenges of over 6,200 military spouses, service members, and veterans.
Many of the results are critical to understanding our role in supporting these men and women. The report found that over half of veterans had difficulty transitioning out of active duty, for example. There continues to be a strong need for transitional programs such as the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), the Veterans Career Transition Program, Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), Operation Boots to Business, and more.
The survey identified that 95% joined the military to serve their country as the primary reason. Looking further, we found that 74% also joined in hopes of receiving educational benefits. Identifying these needs and the military skills that make veterans more likely to be successful business owners, several graduate degree programs in management and entrepreneurship have been developed at Syracuse University specifically for veterans.
Of military spouses, 43% have a full or part-time job. Of those not working, 58% would like to be, and 60% of all survey respondents felt financially stressed. Lack of childcare has impacted 67% of respondents in pursuing employment or education. This troubling information continues to illuminate the need to include spouses and family members in our efforts to serve those who have served.
Among the many challenges, are positives we found out about military families. For one, 80% of respondents are happy with their relationships. 62% of all surveyed have given back with some type of volunteer work in the last year. While parental deployment continues to cause many difficulties for children, over half of parents identified the development of positive traits like resilience, growth, independence, and adaptability.
View more information and the full study at http://vets.syr.edu/research/research-highlights/military-family-lifestyle-survey/
Ryan Rabac is a Graduate Assistant at IVMF currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. He holds a B.S. in Political Science and Interdisciplinary Social Science (May 2014) from Florida State University