Survey Results

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5,650 military and veteran families responded.
Here are their stories.

At the heart of the mission of the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN) is ensuring that military families have the support they need to flourish. The most effective way to understand the needs of our community is through research. Read about our 5,650 respondents and learn what they had to say by viewing our high-level findings below and downloading the executive summary, infographic, and full survey report.

These results will be used to encourage families’ use of successful programs, find programs to cover what is missing, or develop programming to meet their needs. We are thrilled to share our research with the community. Thank you to the organizations that promoted the survey, to our survey sponsors at USAA Educational Foundation, and to the thousands of respondents—we appreciate you!

About our 5,650 respondents:

What is your nearest military installation or unit?


  • Puerto Rico
  • Guam
  • England
  • Japan
  • Lebanon
  • Brazil
  • Germany
  • Singapore
  • Spain

With which branch of the military are you affiliated with?

What rank are you or your service member?

E1 to E4

E5 to E6

E7 to E9

W1 to W5

01 to 03

04 to 06

07 to 010


How are you connected to military family life?

Active duty members and spouses

Veterans / retirees and spouses

Reserve / NG and spouses

Surviving parents and spouses


Divorced spouses

Key findings:

Respondents report positive interactions with the civilian community, and when they need additional support, they turn to community resources.

Military and veteran families are more than 2X as likely to recommend military service to someone they care about.


of respondents would recommend military service


of the average civilian population would recommend military service


cite finances as the biggest barrier to furthering their education

Respondents appreciate the health care they have more than most other benefits, but they would like to see some changes.


when asked what’s working, cited health care


when asked what needs improvement, cited health care

Military and veteran families have a hard time getting ahead financially.


of military families don’t have enough in savings to cover three months of living expenses


of respondents have experienced food insecurity


of respondents have at some point chosen to live apart, the most common reasons are children’s education and spouse’s career

Retirement eligibility is a key reason for leaving military service. The Blended Retirement System could lead service members to separate earlier.

Families are having a hard time leaving military life. Many feel left behind, misunderstood by civilians, and miss the support of the military community.

Twice as many respondents support transgender individuals serving in the military as those who don’t.

Military orders force families to move frequently causing a great deal of financial stress.

Learn more about our findings by downloading the executive summary, infographic, and full survey report.