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What proportion of military spouses in SATX are un- or underemployed, and how do the barriers to employment in SATX compare nationally?

Department or Agency: Military and Veteran Affairs Department

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Data AnalysisData MiningDescriptive Analysis

Project Overview


The City of San Antonio’s Military and Veteran Affairs Department (MVAD)’s mission centers around the retention and recruitment of military missions for the greater San Antonio area through two lines of effort: quality-of-life and mission readiness. Nationally, military spouse employment is stated to be between 20-40%. Military spouse employment is typically one of a Service Member’s top four considerations for retention in the military and thus has a direct effect on military readiness. Additionally, the Department of the Air Force uses spouse employment as a quality-of-life indicator and a factor in basing its decisions.

MVAD has invested staff time and funds into various collaborations and programs to tackle challenges associated with military spouse employment in SATX, with the goal of decreasing military spouse unemployment. Unfortunately, we do not have robust baseline data that we can use to determine program needs or measure program effectiveness. We are seeking help to determine whether and which available data sources meet our needs, identify data gaps, and develop a plan to address those gaps.

Our hope is for this dataset to then be used to create an Excel product that will help us understand the current state of military spouse unemployment in SATX, including:

  • the number of military spouses and their employment status:

    • total numbers living in the greater San Antonio area, by county
    • who are unemployed, by job-seeking status
    • who are employed 
    • who are underemployed (e.g. working less than full time, working in entry-level positions despite holding degrees)

      • who are receiving assistance (e.g. WIC) or are living below the poverty line (by individual and household income) 
    • who are entrepreneurs, by business size (e.g. small, medium, large)

  • local and national comparisons of

    • top barriers to employment
    • average amount of time unemployed upon relocation

This tool will ideally include data from the last 10 years and should minimally include data from the past year. If possible, we hope to make comparisons with state and national level data. All data should be easily accessible by the public for transparency purposes, and easily updated by MVAD annually.

Helpful Links: Hiring Our Heroes Digital Resources

Anticipated deliverables

  1. A one-page written analysis of the data sources, gaps in data, and recommendations for mitigating the gaps.
  2. Excel product with requested data and trend line charts that can be:

    • Added to by MVAD, annually 
    • Shared publicly (content on webpage, presentations, cited by other organizations).

Planned use of results

The results from this project will be used to create content for a quality-of-life tab on the MVAD webpage as well as associated reports to present to support organizations, commercial organizations, and City Council. Results will be used to determine future funding and, if current efforts are a ‘success’, will be shared nationally to highlight our programs. Otherwise, the results will be used as part of internal programs assessment. MVAD will internally update the data annually.


Sources of potential data we may be able to access include:

  • Census
  • 211/ United Way
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program
  • Military One Source
  • Texas Veterans Network
  • Texas Veterans Commission
  • Building Healthy Military Communities (BHMC), etc.

The project is in progress.

We plan to post results and deliverables when the project is complete. In the meantime, we welcome questions about the project.

Project point of contact

Kristen McAvoy

Research & Development Coordinator

City of San Antonio, Office of Innovation

Project Team

Dr. Branco Ponomariov

Department of Public Administration

University of Texas at San Antonio

City of San Antonio Military and Veterans Affairs Department

Office of Innovation

Dr. Julia Wolf

Senior Grant Development Manager

University of Texas at San Antonio

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