Survey Reveals Pandemic’s Impact on Army Families

Survey Reveals Pandemic’s Impact on Army Families

Soldiers helping families at a food drive
Photo by: U.S. Army/Sgt. David Cook

Army spouses reported that the COVID-19 pandemic had a “considerable impact” on their lives, a Rand Corp. survey found. 

The survey of Army spouses analyzed how the pandemic affected areas such as finances, employment and child care from August 2020 to May 2021. The report was released this year.

Spouses of enlisted soldiers and those who were unemployed and looking for work reported the highest level of household financial strain during that period, according to the report, but Army families’ household finances did improve over time. “Many groups reported a large decline in financial strain from August 2020 to January 2021,” according to the report.

In terms of spouse employment, just over one-third of respondents reported that they had stopped working because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to child care services was intimately linked with Army spouse employment, according to the survey’s data. 

“Among respondents with children, 42 percent experienced a change in child care because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 74 percent of those started providing more care at home,” the report found. 

The combination of school closures and the loss of child care options meant that many Army families had to balance work and taking care of their children. 

While some Army spouses who had been working in 2020 said that the changes “did not affect their work,” four in 10 spouses said that they “had to quit their job or reduce their work hours,” and four in 10 reported having to manage child care and work “at the same time.” 

Survey results will be used to inform Army senior leaders, Rand said.

Read the full report here