Divorce Rates in the US Military

Military Divorce Rate in vs Civilians

According to an MSNBC article, the divorce rate among soldiers has increased as military marriages suffered continuing stress from ongoing wars.

There were an estimated 10,200 failed marriages in the active duty Army and 3,077 among Marines, according to the Associated Press. The military divorce rate was originally 3.3 percent, but has risen to 3.5 percent according to the latest information.

The information shows 3.7 percent of more than 84,000 married Marines divorced last year, increased from 3.3 percent the prior year. Some veteran and family groups believe the Pentagon figures are too low because they do not include those who divorced after leaving the service.

According to Military.com, women in the military and female officers divorce at a higher rate than male service members. According to 2019 data, female enlisted members and officers divorce nearly three times more than male soldiers. Female troops divorced at a rate of 7 percent in 2019, while male service members divorced at a rate of 2.5 percent.

Repeated deployments have been blamed for stresses on military couples. Spouses at home left to care for their family without their spouse can often feel overwhelmed.

Mental health surveys taken in Iraq, showed 15 percent of troops said they intended to divorce when they got home. All the services have started programs to help couples make it through this difficult time. The Army has a couples course, and a family course that helps couples with children to stay close and parent well. The Marines have offer workshops to teach couples to manage conflict, solve problems and communicate better.

The Numbers Tell the Real Story about Divorce

50% of marriages today end in divorce, and the divorce rate is on the rise.”  How often have you heard that?  As a family lawyer who also handles divorce and dissolutions of marriages, I hear it a lot. Dr. Anne-Marie Ambert of York University wrote an article entitled “Divorce: Facts, Causes and Consequences” that paints a clearer picture about the numbers, as well as the main causes and consequences of a divorce.

While it is true that divorce rates are going up slightly, the article states that it is not true that one out of every two marriages breaks up. There are many reasons why people are led to believe that one out of two marriages ends in divorce. Often, it is simply a miscalculation or misinterpretation of the data. Take, for instance, the simplistic way of measuring divorce that is too often used wherein the number of divorces in a year is calculated over the number of marriages that have taken place during this same year. For example, if 1000 couples marry this year, and 500 couples divorce – the calculation would state that 50% of marriages today end in divorce.  But, the divorcing couples obviously include couples that have married during different years (possibly even decades ago!)

In calculating the divorce rates, second or third divorces should also be taken into account. These secondary divorces increase the total number of divorces and artificially inflate the proportions of couples who divorce during their lifetime since some people contribute more than their fair share to the divorce rate.

Professions with the Highest Divorce Rates

“Helping professions” and hospitality workers have some of the highest divorce rates in the country, according to a comparison of divorce rates among occupations.

The conventional wisdom is that doctors and attorneys have high divorce rates.  But an analysis of the top 15 jobs with the highest divorce rate that recently made the rounds of the Internet doesn’t even list police officers among the worst offenders. Based on data from the U.S. Census,  here are the top 15 professions and their divorce rates:

  1. Dancer: 43%
  2. Bartender: 38%
  3. Massage therapist: 38%
  4. Gaming cage: 34%
  5. Extruding machine operator: 32%
  6. Gaming: 31%
  7. Factory: 29%
  8. Phone operator: 29%
  9. Nursing: 28%
  10. Entertainers, sports: 28%
  11. Porter: 28%
  12. Telemarketer: 28%
  13. Waiter: 27%
  14. Roofer: 26%
  15. Maid: 26%

It’s hard to know why the above jobs are prone to more divorce. Professional dancers, athletes and entertainers, for example, have more opportunity to cheat on their spouses because they often work away from home and are surrounded by adoring fans.

Helping professionals, such as massage therapists and nurses, have a high amount of stress and work long hours, spending less time with their families. Hospitality workers, such as waiters, maids, porters and gaming workers, also work irregular hours in high-stress jobs.

No matter what the profession, divorces are highest among jobs where workers face high stress and temptations.  Jobs that require extensive travel, odd hours and are high in stress can lead to divorce.

Working odd hours (especially nighttime work) and then spending more time with co-workers instead of a spouse isn’t the only thing that can lead to divorce. One of the biggest causes of divorce is economic pressure.

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