US Military Families Less Likely to Recommend Service Amid Treatment Woes: Poll

Only one in three US military families would recommend a career in the armed forces amid a broad range of treatment concerns, a new survey has found.

Blue Star Families, a non-profit organization founded by military spouses in 2009, said it received more than 7,400 responses in 2023 detailing the likelihood of active-duty families to endorse a life in uniform.

It found that only 32 percent would do so, a huge drop from the 55 percent who spoke highly of a military career in 2016.

Nearly half of those said the difficulty of securing a job for military spouses was the main factor for their decision.

The current military spouse unemployment rate is reportedly up to six times higher than the national average.

Other Factors

About 38 percent of those who said they would be less likely to recommend military service said they were concerned about the time spent away from family, while 37 percent believe military pay could be better.

Concerns about housing and children’s education round out the top five factors for the declining rate.

The survey also noted there were respondents who said they were not receiving mental health care despite a desire for it.

One in six active-duty family respondents also reported experiencing food insecurity.

“This data shows that persistent quality-of-life issues such as spouse unemployment, limited child care, housing costs, and health care barriers impact military families’ desire to continue their family tradition of service,” Blue Star Families senior director Jessica Strong said.

‘Heading in Wrong Direction’

The alarming survey results were released as the US armed forces continue to grapple with a recruitment crisis.

The country’s military, rated most powerful in the world for 2024, has missed its recruitment goals for the past two years and entered this year with its smallest size of 1,284,500 personnel in more than 80 years.

Strong said she believes military families are “the most critical untapped potential to solve the national recruiting crisis,” therefore addressing their concerns must be a priority.

She also warned that the military is heading in the wrong direction based on the survey findings.

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