ACTIVE COMPONENT ENLISTED FORCE
Marital Status. Every year, a much smaller percentage of first-time enlisted recruits are married compared to enlisted Servicemembers. 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 3.4. 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 50 percent in FY 2004. Marital status varies by Service. Air Force members are most likely to be married (56 percent), while Marines are least likely to be married (41 percent).
The percentages of FY 2004 Active Component enlisted married males and females are shown by Service in Table 3.6 and by age in Appendix Table B-23. Proportionally, more Servicemen were married than Servicewomen (51 and 43 percent, respectively). The only Service where these proportions are not evident is the Marine Corps where only 42 percent of men and 40 percent of women are married. Similarly, more civilian men were married than civilian women (52 versus 49 percent, respectively). The proportion of married Servicemen was slightly smaller than married 18- to 44-year-old men in the civilian population (51 and 52 percent, respectively). The proportion of married Servicewomen was lower than that of women in the comparable civilian population (43 and 49 percent, respectively).
The percentage of married military women has changed significantly since FY 1973. [Footnote 8] At that time 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 43 percent in FY 2004.
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 3.7. Larger
proportions of men than women are married, but significantly greater proportions
of women are members of dual-service marriages (51 percent of married
women versus 8 percent of married men; Table 3.7). The Marine Corps has
the greatest variance, with 6 percent of married men but 65 percent of
married women in dual-service marriages. Proportionally, more Air Force
personnel are members of dual-service marriages (22 percent). Across the
Services, 14 percent of enlisted members are in dual-service marriages.
[Footnote 7] 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]
[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]