Marriage and the military: Evidence that those who serve marry earlier and divorce earlier
The military compensation and benefits system benefits married members compared to single ones without dependents. The Armed Forces place high demands on their personnel and their families. To reduce turnover and retain sufficient numbers of qualified personnel, the military needs to be supportive of family life. The benefits package includes a housing cash allowance and health insurance. The perks consequently induce individuals to marry earlier than they otherwise might. This research finds the odds of members marrying in their early twenties are three times higher than civilians. However marriage whilst serving doesn’t necessarily equate to marital stability as probability of divorce is significantly greater for those who have served two or more years on active duty.
Under the compensation system of the U.S. Armed Forces, members who are married or have dependents receive higher rates of pay and greater benefits than those who are single with no dependents. This article examines the hypothesis that these compensation policies induce earlier marriage by active-duty military members compared to otherwise similar civilians who have not served on active duty. Using a logistic regression model on American Community Survey data, the authors estimate the effect of active-duty military service on the probability of being married for twenty-three- to twenty-five-year-olds. Controlling for other factors affecting marriage rates, the authors find that the odds of being married were about three times greater for those with military service compared to similar civilians who have not served. For persons ever married, the probability of divorce is significantly greater for those who have served two or more years on active duty.
Hogan, P., & Furst Seifert, R. (2009). Marriage and the Military: Evidence That Those Who Serve Marry Earlier and Divorce Earlier Armed Forces & Society, 36 (3), 420-438 DOI: 10.1177/0095327X09351228