Blue Star Families’ 9th Annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey Highlights Modern Expectations Aren’t Being Met

Ten years of research reveal military life expectations have evolved for modern military families. They seek work-life balance and believe a second income is vital to their families’ well-being, according to the 2018 Blue Star Families (BSF) annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey (aMFLS).

“In the past, military families’ top concerns related primarily to benefits and pay,” said Hisako Sonethavilay, Senior Advisor for Applied Research. “The 2018 Military Family Lifestyle Survey results, however, underscore the need for a structural and cultural changes around the impact service has on military families’ well-being, both from a financial perspective as well as a health perspective.”

The survey–a collaboration between Blue Star Families and Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)–shows military families are concerned that their diverse 21st century needs are not being met by the Department of Defense.

The 2018 aMFLS results also found:

  • 70% of Millenial military families believe two incomes are vital to their family’s well-being.
  • 69% think the current operational tempo exerts an unacceptable level of stress for healthy work-life balance.
  • 57% of military kids experienced separation anxiety or sleeping problems as a result of their military parent’s deployment.
  • 48% feel that they don’t belong in their local civilian communities.
  • 37% of service members ranked relocation as their top stressor.

“Working with Blue Star Families has allowed us to take action from data gathered around the top issues impacting the wellbeing of military families,” said Harriet Dominique, SVP of Corporate Responsibility, USAA. “Together we can better support effective programs to minimize gaps when it comes to serving the unique needs of our military families.”

The full 2018 Military Family Lifestyle Survey will be published on Feb. 6 at Results will also be shared during the Change of Command: The Evolution of the Military and the #BSF Survey event at American Red Cross in Washington D.C. Changemakers and thought-leaders will convene for a day of impactful discussion and sustainable solutions to support and retain our nation’s strongest and most resilient All-Volunteer Force.

The Change of Command event can be livestreamed on February 6 starting at 10 AM Eastern at

Contact Joanna Guldin ( for an embargoed copy of the 2018 aMFLS results.

About the annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey

This is the ninth iteration of the BSF annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey, which has been conducted annually since 2009. The 2018 survey, designed by Blue Star Families in collaboration with Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) and analyzed by the Department of Research and Policy at Blue Star Families, was fielded April through June of this year. More than 10,000 respondents, including active duty service members, veterans and their families, provided valuable insight regarding the true cost of sustaining the All-Volunteer Force. The annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey’s response rate makes it the largest and most comprehensive survey of active duty, veterans, and their families.

Funding for the 2018 Military Family Lifestyle Survey provided through the generosity of our presenting sponsor USAA and from supporting sponsors Lockheed Martin Corporation, CSX Corporation, Facebook, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and the Walmart Foundation.

About Blue Star Families

Blue Star Families builds communities that support military families by connecting research and data to programs and solutions, including career development tools, local community events for families, and caregiver support. Since its inception in 2009, Blue Star Families has engaged tens of thousands of volunteers and served more than 1.5 million military family members. Blue Star Families believes that all military families should be able to serve and simultaneously build thriving and healthy families. With Blue Star Families, military families can find answers to their challenges anywhere they are. Visit for more information.

About USAA

The USAA family of companies provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products and advice to more than 12.8 million current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving our nation in the U.S. military or have received a discharge type of Honorable – and their eligible family members. Founded in 1922, USAA is headquartered in San Antonio. For more information about USAA, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit

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