The Impact of PCS Moves on Your Kids

We can look into the eyes of our children to see the impact of PCS moves. We can listen to the impact by the sound of a slammed door and the sobs deep in the recesses of their bedroom. We can feel the impact on them when we wrap our arms around them in a strong embrace and whisper, “I’m sorry.”

As parents, we know PCSing frequently from location to location has an impact on our children. We don’t need research to validate that tight feeling in our stomach or the blanket of worry that covers us when we learn the news of another PCS. We’ve become really good at hiding the fact that we see the impact – covering with smiles, excitement and promises of adventures.

Of course, we know that our kids will bounce back. They always do. We know adventure awaits them including new friends, a new school, and a new home. As adults, we know the good always outweighs the bad. We have the advantage of perspective. For a young tween, the newly minted six-year-old, or the high school junior, perspective is an elusive concept.

We may not need studies, academia or professionals to validate us, but it may help us understand the bigger picture versus the local and intimate influence moving has on our families.

With the recent refocus of resources aimed at understanding the needs of military families, there has been a plethora of reports and studies on the impact that moving (transition) has on military children. We sorted through a dozen studies and stats and spoke to professionals to recap the real “impact” moving has on our families at large.


There are currently 2,000,000 military-connected children in America. Of those:

  • 1,381,584 of the military-connected children are ages 4-18 years old.
  • Over 80 percent of these children – 1,105,267 students – attend Pre-K through 12 public schools.
  • Every school district in the country has military-connected students.
  • Approximately 10 to 12 percent of military-connected students are served in special education programs.
  • Military families move an average of every two to three years, that means approximately 500,000 military children change schools every year.
  • Active (Duty) Kids

517,734 children in preschool (ages 0-5)

516,324 children in primary school (ages 6-14)

186,883 children in high school or older (ages 15-22)

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