The 2023 Military Family Support Programming Survey, presented by Oracle Health, was fielded from October 2 to December 10, 2023. Totaling 10,149 military-connected respondents, the study is the largest and most comprehensive of its kind.

The fifth iteration of the survey categorizes findings into four pillars: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Families, Healthy Homes, and Healthy Futures. The report dives below the surface of critical issues like child care, employment, family relationships, financial readiness, food insecurity, health and well-being, housing, and transition out of the military. Findings point to diverging experiences of military families and shifts in how respondents wish to receive support.

This report is critical as we work to understand the needs of a new generation of military families and identify the actions we must take together to sustain the all-volunteer force.

Watch the data release

Our findings show that while many are thriving in service, the experiences are wide ranging and consequential. Respondents’ insights illuminate areas of growth and opportunity for improvement, and ultimately reinforce that taking care of military families isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a national security imperative.

– Shannon Razsadin, MFAN CEO

Key Findings

  • The rate of decline in the propensity to recommend service has slowed but remains a key concern. In 2023, 57.6% of respondents would recommend military service to someone considering it, compared to 62.9% in 2021 and 74.5% in 2019.
  • Family health has declined since 2021, with poor family health nearly doubling. In 2023, nearly a third (27.9%) of respondents indicated high levels of excellent, 45.6% moderate, and 26.5% poor family well-being. In 2021, only 14.0% of respondents indicated poor family health. Respondents with poor or moderate family health were significantly less likely to recommend military life than those with excellent family health.
  • Food insecurity continues to be a pressing issue. One in five respondents experience food insecurity; increasing to one in four among active duty families.
  • Reported loneliness among military and veteran families rose from 54.0% in 2021, to 59.1% in 2023.
  • Reported usage of mental health services has increased, at 58.4%, up from 46.2% in 2021.
  • Child care: 74.6% of all respondents reported having children under the age of 18. 45.5% of respondents with children had a need for child care.
  • Caregiving respondents were significantly more likely to report poor family well-being (34.9%). About half reported receiving support from their family (33.6%) or friends (21.9%), and a third (30.1%) said they received no support at all.
  • Families who PCS’d in the last two years were more likely to report negative family well-being. Most families reported between $500 and $1,000 in unreimbursed expenses. Families are also struggling to find suitable housing as one in five respondents (20.6%) reported spending between 31-60 nights in temporary lodging.
  • Families are spending well beyond their Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), and many are housing cost burdened. Nearly 80 percent (79.8%) of respondents carry the burden of paying more than they can comfortably afford for housing. Over half (53.0%) of actively serving family respondents reported paying $251 or above their BAH for rent/mortgage or utilities.
  • One in four respondents (24.9%) have less than $500 in emergency savings. The five most reported barriers to savings include the cost of living and inflation, income constraints and lack of financial resources, unexpected expenses, moving or PCS, and dependents and/or extended family.
  • Spouse employment is a significant contributor to family well-being and experiences are wide-ranging. More than half (56.5%) of active duty spouses are employed (39.1% full-time and 17.4% part-time), 21.8% are unemployed and looking for work, and 16.5% indicated they were unemployed and not looking for work. Active duty spouses who report full-time employment are more likely to report gross household income above $75,000 and are statistically more likely to report excellent family well-being.


In 2023, MFAN studied the direct relationship between family well-being and the propensity to recommend military life.



This pillar includes considerations to understand and support the physical, mental, and emotional health goals of military families.



The well-being of military families is linked to intrapersonal dynamics, which intersect with separations, home responsibilities, and health statuses.



This pillar supports families navigating the challenges of military moves and examines families’ experiences with housing – both on- and off-installation.



Family well-being requires that we address the challenges of today and plan for thriving in the future, in financial readiness, planning, education, and transition.


There is no greater honor than reading and analyzing these raw truths from our respondents. The trust they put in MFAN is something we take seriously, and we know that families will see themselves in this report. To the families who made time to share your experiences, thank you. This report is the tip of the iceberg and we will continue to dissect these findings, glean insights, and report our learnings in the months ahead.

– Dr. Gabby L’Esperance, MFAN Director of Insights


This survey is presented by Oracle Health, with support from Amazon, Wells Fargo, Wounded Warrior Project, Deloitte, CVS Health, Association of Military Banks of America, and Magellan Federal.

If you would like to support MFAN’s work, visit our donate page. For those interested in sponsorship opportunities, contact beattie@mfan.org.


If you are a member of the media or an organization that supports military populations and are interested in amplifying the stories of military families, visit our media toolkit or contact media@mfan.org.