The Results Are In: 2017 Military Family Support Programming Survey

May 29, 2018

The 2017 Military Family Support Programming Survey results are in! The full survey report — the product of months of compiling and analyzing responses from 5,650 military and veteran families — is out, and you can read it here. You can also watch the webcast from MFAN’s survey release event here.


In several blog posts, we are going to look more closely at the results covered in our executive summary, including topics like health care, moving, and retirement. Before we get there, though, we’d like to spend time talking about why and how we conducted the survey as well as who responded to the survey.


The purpose was simple: To better understand what support military families need and whether or not they’re getting it. The survey results paint a vivid picture of the programs military families use, the ones they’re looking for, and those they think could use some improvement.


The survey itself consisted of qualitative and quantitative questions — but mostly the former. We focused on qualitative, open-ended questions because we wanted participants to tell us about themselves in their own words. We didn’t want to guess or choose answers for them. To ensure meanings and interpretations were valid and accurate, all questions were pre-tested with military and veteran spouses, service members, and veterans. The survey yielded more than 153,000 unique responses, and a team of coders worked together to analyze them.


Now that you know the science behind it all, I’m sure you’re wondering about the backgrounds and experiences of the survey respondents. All 5,000+ individuals who participated are connected to the military community. As a group, they represent every service branch and come from all 50 states, two U.S. territories, and seven countries. Participants included active duty service members, reservists, retirees, veterans, and their spouses — some were survivors who have lost their spouses or children who served. The ranks of the service members covered the spectrum, with enlisted ranks being the most common.


Now that you know the why, how, and who of the Military Family Support Programming Survey, we encourage you to stay tuned for our next posts, which will dig into our findings. If you want more details in the meantime, check out our full survey report!