Blue Star Families’ Social Impact Research 2021:
The Diverse Experiences of Military & Veteran Families of Color

In Collaboration With


All Blue Star Families programming is informed by our research. For this reason, research and advocacy is a key pillar of our Campaign for Inclusion. While all Blue Star Families research in the future will continue to look at data through a racial equity and inclusion lens, our groundbreaking studyThe Diverse Experiences of Military and Veteran Families of Color provides unparalleled insight into how military families experience military life.

This study included focus groups, extensive review of existing literature, new analysis of existing military and Veteran data, and a specialized survey for military and Veteran families of color (including multiracial/ethnic families). More importantly, this study offers solutions.

The Blue Star Families team interviewed over 100 government, non-profit, and community stakeholders to identify and prioritize viable recommendations and best practices to begin moving forward. These are intended to help leaders prioritize action and start new conversations about how to create sustainable change.

listen and learn

Did you miss part of the 2021 Understanding the Diverse Experiences of Military Families of Color Survey results release event? Are you looking to catch up on the conversations? Press play on the videos below.

Day 1 - Storytelling Event

Hear the stories and real-world implications of the results from our Understanding the Diverse Experiences of Military Families of Color Survey. Meet the leaders who have helped shape this research and learn about the steps being taken to better the world around us.

Day 2 - Data Deep Dive #1

Survey findings around the inextricable link between military families of color, communities, and readiness + the service member and Veteran experience.

Day 2 - Data Deep Dive #2

Survey findings around military families of color's experience with finances, their children, and resources & services.

Featured Videos

REI Opening Video

Community Engagement Video

DEPLOY Fellowship Video

REI Committee Video

Mentorship & Allyship Video

What does the data say?

2021 Survey Findings Summary


2021 Executive Summary

Learn about the main points of the 2021 survey by reading this brief overview of the findings.

2021 Comprehensive Infographic

Get quick references and statistics on the issues that are most important to military and Veteran families of color.

2021 Comprehensive Report

Take an in-depth look at the 2021 results to learn how creating an inclusive environment for military and Veteran families of color will enhance the effectiveness of our fighting force.


Service members report experiencing racial and gender discrimination, potentially impacting readiness and retention. Most did not report the most recent incident of discrimination. Also, a smaller proportion of those active-duty service member respondents who experienced military-connected racial discrimination (43%) would recommend service than those who had not experienced discrimination (63%). Nearly one in 10 respondents who are Veterans of color (8%) report racial discrimination as one of the reasons they left military service. (2020 Military Family Lifestyle Survey)

“I think you have to first… you have to find out the root cause [of] their racism, and learn and understand that racism just didn't start yesterday. This has been systemic. This has been years that have been in the making. So [...] it's a matter of finding people who want to truly change their view. And that would take training, education. That would take admitting and having open and honest conversations like these. People willing to put themselves out there to say, ‘This is a problem, and this is what we want to do to fix it’.”
- Black Military Spouse and Veteran


This 14 month research effort included an extensive search of the relevant literature and original analysis of public data sources, focus groups, a survey, and culminated in this report of results and recommendations. The study utilized a mixed-methods approach and convenience sampling methods to ensure a robust representation of military and Veteran family respondents of color. The total sample (2,731 respondents) includes service members, Veterans, and spouses of color, as well as white, non-Hispanic respondents who are part of multiracial/multiethnic families. Full demographics and detailed methods can be found here.


If you are a member of the media or a nonprofit organization that supports military- and Veteran-connected communities and you are interested in partnering with Blue Star Families to promote Blue Star Families’ Social Impact Research 2021: The Diverse Experiences of Military & Veteran Families of Color, contact [email protected].


Funding for this needs assessment is provided through the generosity of our sponsors. If you are interested in funding further research, use the button below.

Quick Links


From the Department of Applied Research at Blue Star Families, in collaboration with Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF).


Jennifer L. Akin, M.P.A., Co-Director of Applied Research
Cynthia C. Rivera, M.S.W, Senior Manager of Equity and Social Impact Research
Carrie E. Carter,  M.Ed., Applied Research Generalist Consultant
Jessica D. Strong, Ph.D., Co-Director of Applied Research
Ingrid Herrera-Yee, Ph.D., Senior Applied Research Analyst Consultant
Charo K. Bates, M.B.A., M.A., M.S., Policy & Social Impact DEPLOY Fellow
Kelley M. Klor, Food Insecurity DEPLOY Fellow
Ashley B. Scott, Policy & Outreach Fellow
Jerel Ezell, Ph.D., M.P.H., Senior Applied Research Analyst Consultant for Focus Groups


Rosalinda V. Maury, M.S., Director of Applied Research and Analytics
Mariah Brennan Nanni, M.P.A., Doctoral Research Fellow
Rachel K. Linsner, M.S., Research Associate
Jeanette Yih Harvie, Ph.D., Research Associate

Presenting Sponsor


Supporting Sponsors

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Macys Transparent Logo
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