Lately, advancing military divorce statistics have been plaguing many families. The stress and long stretches of separation due to the demanding and high stakes job in the military takes a toll on the relationship between the person serving in the military and with his or her spouse. There are many initiatives taken by even the government to ensure the stability of military homes, providing incentives for military personnel to get married and then give them further benefits if their marriage lasts for a stipulated duration of time. But is this enough to save the ongoing issue of military breakups? Here, we look at the marriage and split-up rates in the military as well as the current patterns and causes for the trend among military families today. We start with the bare facts, that is the rate of break-off in military homes:
The Rate in Military Homes
Military divorce statistics were always a cause for concern but right now they are an impending threat as they have spiked to the highest point in more than a decade. According to information released by the U.S. Pentagon earlier this year, the rate has reached its highest since the year 1999, with up to thirty thousand marriages ending in the fiscal year of 2011! Now those are some shockingly bad numbers.
Some other numbers and percentages pertaining to military family breakups:
Military Rate Compared to Civilian Rate
What is most jarring about military rates is that compared to the regular civilian rate, it is actually higher. In 2011, the military rate was at 3.7%, an all time high since 1999, whereas the civilian rate was 3.5%, despite the fact that there were more marriages among American civilians than among the military personnel, and with a higher marriage rate comes a higher breakup rate. But divorce rate among the civilians have actually been dropping, unlike the rates among the military. The relation between money and divorce statistics is also a major concern to be looked into.
Breakup Rates Across All Wings of the Military
The rates have been on the steady increase across all the wings of the military. Here is a perspective with solid percentages:
- Rate Among Army Personnel- 3.7%, the highest rate for the service since the year 2004.
- Rate Among Navy Personnel- 3.6%, the highest rate for the service since the year 2004.
- Rate Among Marine Corp Personnel- 3.8%, the same as for the year 2010.
- Rate Among Air Force Personnel- 3.9%, the highest rate for the service for more than two decades.
From the above numbers, it is clear that the Air Force had the highest number of marriage break ups last year. In fact, it was noted that a whooping 5% of all Air Force marriages ended in the legal termination of marital relation in the year of 2011. A real tragedy!
Breakup Rates of Women Enlisted in the Military
It was noted that the demographic hit worst with breakups last year were women enlisted across all the wings of the military. At a rate definitely higher than the rate of men serving in the military, one in every ten married women military personnel saw her marriage come to an end in the year 2011 alone, whereas men serving in the military had a split-up rate of one in twenty-five marriages in the year 2011, comparatively more moderate. The issue of alcohol and divorce statistics came into limelight during these times.
The Biggest Causes for the Upward Trend in Military Divorce Statistics
There have been many reasons cited for the multiple break ups among individuals serving for the country. Obviously, the biggest reason was a heavy and stress ridden work schedule which put a lot of strain on the marital relationships between the military personnel and their respective spouses.
Speaking about the incredibly high Air Force break-off rate, Chaplain (Capt.) Steven Richardson, Director of Family and Integration for the Air Force Chaplain Corps College based in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, had this to say about the couples with broken marriages- “These couples knew each other pretty well before they got married, but the Air Force is a very active organization. They’re gone a lot, they do a lot of moves, we work some long hours, and because of that both the spouses and the airmen end up making a lot of changes.”
This was especially true for dual military marriages, where both partners in the marriage were working for the military, giving them an even shorter period of time to spend together due to conflicting work schedules.
Another major cause for military split-up were ex-military personnel suffering from war related illnesses like PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). It was difficult for many spouses to cope with what their partners were going through after they returned from the war, and had to end the marriage for the sake of their own mental and physical safety and those of the children (if there were any in the marriage).
Maintaining a marriage while working for the US military is extremely difficult, as observed by the dismal military divorce statistics. The bright side being, for every couple who call it quits, there are more couple who are willing to work it out despite all the obstacles which come with one partner in the marriage being in military service.