Spouse Satisfaction with Military Life at a New Low, DoD Survey Finds

The percentage of military spouses who say they are happy with military life and would support their member staying in the service has sunk to the lowest point in nearly a decade, according to Defense Department survey results released last week.

Satisfaction with the military lifestyle dipped below 50% for the first time since 2012, with only 49% of spouses who answered the DoD’s 2021 spouse survey reporting that they were content, a drop of 15 percentage points from 2012. Those saying they favored their loved one remaining in the military dropped to 54%, down from 68% in 2012 and 59% in 2019.

The survey doesn’t explain the reasons for the declines, but Kelly Hruska, director of government relations at the National Military Family Association, said several factors may contribute, including continued high rates of spouse unemployment, which have hovered at 21% since 2015, as well as inflation and loss of a sense of purpose, given that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have ended.

We’re not really sure what’s going on there, but today, largely, you need two incomes, and military families are no different. The stresses of moves, having difficulty finding employment, and, well, when we are at war, there was a clear mission. When you don’t have a war, it’s a little harder to define ‘Why are we doing all this?'” Hruska said during an interview with

DoD surveys of active-duty spouses have been conducted in some form every two years since 1985 and are considered the “gold standard” for assessing the state of military families. The results are used to direct policy and program decisions for supporting those families. . . . . (read more on

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