People measure divorce rates in many different ways. For instance, you may have heard that 50% of marriages end in divorce. It’s a commonly-cited statistic. However, that doesn’t mean half of all marriages end every year. It just means that half will end eventually — and even that statistic is debatable.
A better way to look at it is to see what percentage of people get divorced during a given year. You can then compare changes over time. When doing this and considering military divorce rates, studies have found that female Marines have the highest rate.
The different rates
To start with, let’s look at the rate for civilians. It typically comes in at about 3.2%. That said, it’s not entirely accurate because not all 50 states even get included in that statistic. One that is notably not included is California, with its massive population.
Still, that gives you some idea of what divorce looks like for those not in the military. When you look at members of the military — of both genders — you will find that it’s nearly the same. It comes in around 3% and perhaps as high as 3.1%.
Female service members
Before you decide that being in the military doesn’t make divorce more likely, consider that it really depends on who you are. Gender appears to play a massive role.
Experts note that the rate of divorce for female service members is “much higher” than it is for male service members. In the Army, for instance, the rate is around 275% higher for women.
The highest they found was for women who are in the Marines. Their divorce rate hit 9.9% back in 2010. That was the highest on record, and it remains that way, as the rate has fallen since then. Even so, the most current rate is 7.1%.
That’s more than twice as high as the overall rate for the military and as the overall rate for civilians. Clearly, something prompts female Marines to end their marriages at a vastly higher rate than normal.
What is the reason? Some have hypothesized that military policies are to blame. They speculate that the policies don’t favor married women. Since these policies do change from time to time, they think that may link to changes in divorce rates.
No matter what branch of the service you are in, it’s important to understand the impact your career can have on your marriage. If you do end up getting divorced, perhaps due to military policies or maybe for other reasons entirely, make sure you know what steps to take, what rights you have and what legal options are open to you.