Although only 9 percent of first-time enlisted recruits are married, a majority of enlisted Servicemembers are (50 percent). By the end of the first term of service (typically four years), approximately 42 percent of male enlisted members have become married.[footnote 7] Trends in marital status of active duty members are shown in Figure 3.6. The proportion of married enlisted members declined from FY 1977 (50 percent) to FY 1980 (47 percent). In FY 1981 the proportion began to increase until a peak of 57 percent in FY 1994. Since FY 1994, the proportion of married members has dropped to less than 50 percent in FY 2000. Marital status varies by Service. Air Force members are most likely to be married (59 percent), while Marines are least likely to be married (40 percent).
The percentages of FY 2000 Active Component enlisted married males and females are shown by Service in Table 3.5 and by age in Appendix Table B-24. Proportionally, more Servicemen were married than Servicewomen (51 and 41 percent, respectively). Similarly, more civilian men were married than civilian women (53 versus 51 percent, respectively). The proportion of married Servicemen was slightly smaller than married 18- to 44-year-old men in the civilian population (51 and 53 percent, respectively). The proportion of married Servicewomen was lower than that of women in the comparable civilian population (41 and 51 percent, respectively).
The percentage of married military women has changed significantly since FY 1973.[footnote 8] Twenty-five years ago women constituted 2 percent of military members. Military women were not expected to be married; retention directives implicitly encouraged separation of married enlisted women. In FY 1973, 18 percent of military women were married, increasing to 36 percent in FY 1978 and to 41 percent in FY 2000.
During and after the Persian Gulf War, questions were raised regarding the deployment of both parents in a dual-service marriage (i.e., a marriage wherein both husband and wife are military members). The proportion of members in each Service who are married and the proportion of those married who are members of a dual-service marriage are shown in Table 3.6.
Larger proportions of men than women are married, but significantly greater proportions of women are members of dual-service marriages (47 percent of married women versus 7 percent of married men; Table 3.6). The Marine Corps has the greatest variance, with 5 percent of married men but 64 percent of married women in dual-service marriages. Proportionally, more Air Force personnel are members of dual-service marriages (17 percent). Across the Services, 12 percent of enlisted members are in dual-service marriages.
[footnote 7] Department of Defense, Family Status and Initial Term of Service, Volume I-Summary (Washington, DC: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense [Personnel and Readiness], December 1993).[back to paragraph]
[footnote 8] Department of Defense, Population Representation in the Military Services: Fiscal Year 1989 (Washington, DC: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense [Force Management and Personnel], July 1990).[back to paragraph]