Survey Snapshot: Benefits and Challenges of Dispersed Living

February, 2019

The RAF Families Federation’s Dispersed Families Project utilised a range of research methods to examine the experiences of RAF families who live away from their Parent Unit. This snapshot report summarises the main benefits and challenges of dispersed living for RAF Serving Personnel and their families, as reported through responses to online surveys.


The RAF Families Federation’s Dispersed Families Project is an initiative funded by the Chancellor using LIBOR funds, and aims to improve understanding of the lived experience of dispersed families in the Royal Air Force. A series of online surveys for family members and Serving Personnel identified that this group were more likely to live in their own home than the RAF population as a whole, and appear to be less mobile as a result. However just over a quarter of survey respondents lived in Service Accommodation that was located at least 10 miles away from their Parent Unit. Reported benefits of dispersed living included home ownership, stability of family life, continuity of career for the non-Serving spouse or partner, and stability for children. Conversely, survey respondents were least positive about support for the family from the RAF, the amount of separation from their spouse/partner, household income and cost of living, and work life balance. Living away from the military community was seen as both a benefit and a challenge by respondents. This survey snapshot precedes a more comprehensive report, to include all research data including interviews and stakeholder surveys.

Full Reference

RAF Families Federation, 2019 [Online]. "Survey Snapshot: Benefits and Challenges of Dispersed Living". Available at:

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