ACTIVE COMPONENT ENLISTED APPLICANTS AND ACCESSIONS
Marital Status. In FY 2004, 8 percent of male and 12 percent of female recruits were married, compared to 51 and 43 percent of male and female enlisted members, respectively. Civilians are more likely to be married than accessions (13 versus 9 percent). Within the Services, Army recruits are most likely to be married (14 percent) and Marine Corps recruits are least likely (2 percent).
Table 2.9 compares marriage rates of accessions with 18- to 24-year-old civilians in the labor force. The majority of accessions are high school graduates. The military is often their first full-time job and thus, very few are married. Figure 2.3 shows marital status trends for FYs 1976-2004 by Service.
Research shows that marriage is important to a member’s long-term career and can enhance individual readiness. [Footnote 24] This is true if the member is in a strong marriage to a supportive but independent spouse. However, combining marriage and a military career can create challenges for younger Servicemembers as well as for the Service. Entering into marriage just prior to or soon after enlisting can place extra burdens on the recruit, the family, and the military, particularly when frequent or unexpected deployments separate the "new" family. Thus, marital status trends of accessions are important characteristics to monitor.
[Footnote 24] Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness), 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]