The Military Family Research Institute recognizes military spouses every day, but especially on May 11, 2018, National Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
On this day the contributions and sacrifices made by military spouses are honored. Military spouses are the solid piece that holds military families together while supporting their spouse through deployment to reintegration.
Female military service is on the rise. In parallel more military spouses are men.
Dr. Kenona Southwell, an MFRI postdoctoral researcher, has studied the demographics of military spouses. She found that civilian husbands perceived themselves as having different and broader perspectives, and having more travel experience than civilian families because of their military experiences. Husbands reported that being a military spouse helped them be more tolerant of individual differences such as race and culture, and having better problem solving and coping skills than normal civilians.
Based on the most recent 2016 Demographics Profile of the Military Community there are more than 50,800 male spouses of female service members. Males make up 8.1% of the military spouse population.
No matter the gender, military spouses play an important role in our nation’s security. At MFRI, we thank and appreciate all military spouses for their service in the U.S. and around the world.
Every April we celebrate the Month of the Military Child, showing appreciation for approximately 2 million military children who serve alongside their parents.
Military children play an important role in the armed forces community. That’s because their parent’s service requires of them daily sacrifices and can create unique challenges when compared to their civilian peers.
Ways to honor military children
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense, the Month of the Military Child is a time for communities to honor these children. It’s a time to say “Thank you for your service.”
There are many things you can do to say thank you. You can celebrate Purple Up Day by wearing purple on April 13th. You can buy military-friendly books for your local library. Your business can offer discounts to military families. You can also raise awareness by distributing information that lets everyone else know that this is the Month of the Military Child. Consider downloading and sharing MFRI’s How to Help series. Each issue provides evidence-based guidance on how a particular community or profession can help military families, including children.
The DoD encourages communities to plan special events in April to honor military children. “These efforts and special events will stress the importance of providing children with quality services and support to help them succeed in the mobile military lifestyle,” the DoDEA writes.
Measuring Communities is a social indicators initiative designed to help shape community efforts to support military and veteran families. This web-based tool assembles, makes available and visually represents data about the state of these families, which communities can use to identify and address gaps in services to better serve them. MFRI created this landmark initiative in partnership with the Purdue Center for Regional Development.
Research exploring the World War II GI Bill, marriage and socioeconomic outcomes earned the 2016 Military Family Research Institute’s annual award for Excellence in Research on Military and Veteran Families.
Sixteen distinguished reviewers examined all the research on military families published in 2015, over 150 articles. Multiple rounds of review yielded the winning article: “War and marriage: Assortative mating and the World War II GI Bill,” by Matthew F. Larsen, T. J. McCarthy, Jeremy G. Moulton, Marianne E. Page and Ankur J. Patel. The authors’ research, detailed in the publication, used quantitative research methods to explore linkages among the World War II GI Bill, marriage and generational impacts on socioeconomic status.
“Our goal at MFRI is to increase the impact of research, and this award helps to strengthen connections between researchers, policy makers and practitioners,” said Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, director of MFRI. “We are thrilled to recognize and celebrate the excellent work of these outstanding scholars.”
The article appeared in the October 2015 issue of Demography, a peer-reviewed journal that presents the work of scholars across a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, biology, economics, geography, history, psychology, public health, sociology and statistics.
The award was presented on Nov. 16, at a panel discussion based on MFRI’s forthcoming book, A Battle Plan for Supporting Military and Veteran Families. The event was hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army and held at its headquarters in Arlington, Va.
MFRI established the award to recognize the year’s best research on military-connected families. It is given annually to the authors of research published in the last year that combines exceptional rigor with important insights about military and veteran families. Nominations for this award are neither solicited nor accepted. Instead, a panel reviews all published research to determine the winner of the award.
About the authors of “War and marriage: Assortative mating and the World War II GI Bill”:
Jennifer Lundquist, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Zhun Xu, Howard University, argue that structural conditions of modern military service – including deployment, frequent moves and overarching characteristics of military employment – shape the relationships between spouses and service members. Through the article, the authors bring together life course literatures on turning points, the welfare state, and linked lives to show how military policies are part of an overarching institutional culture that directly and indirectly promotes marriage.