Married troops are divorcing at about the same rate as they have for the previous five years, according to new data released by the Pentagon.
Since 2014 the divorce rate among men and women across the services has fluctuated between 3% and 3.1%. That trend continued for 2019 according to the Pentagon data, which measures the number of service members divorced during the fiscal year against the number married when the fiscal year began. The data does not include Coast Guard personnel.
“The message here is ‘stability,'” said Benjamin Karney, a researcher with Rand Corp. who has long studied military divorce trends.
The divorce rate among female troops, both officer and enlisted, is historically much higher than that of their male counterparts, and that remained true in 2019. For example, the divorce rate among female soldiers is close to triple that of their male soldiers, at 7% compared to 2.5%. In the Marine Corps.
The overall divorce rate is also higher for enlisted troops, at 3.5%, compared to the divorce rate for officers, at 1.7%, regardless of gender.
Across the services, the highest overall rate among both males and females, officer and enlisted, is tied between the Air Force and the Marine Corps at 3.3%. The rate is lowest in the Navy, at 2.8%.
That the rate has been so stable could be a sign that the various support programs fielded by services to buoy military marriages are not impacting the divorce rate, Karney said.
“Over the last 15 years the military has done a lot to try to support military families, and what we’ve seen is that families are doing the same as they’ve always done over those 15 years,” he said.
The military’s divorce rate and the total U.S. divorce rate are not comparable because they are not measured the same way.
The total U.S. divorce rate, tracked by the Centers for Disease Control, is measured per 1,000 residents, but does not factor in five states including California or the District of Columbia. That rate sat at 2.9% per 1,000 population in 2018, the latest year for which information is available.
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