It is undoubtedly good news that troops are coming home from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. That means that more and more American servicemembers are safe at home. Their families can breathe heavy sighs of relief that they are reunited with their brave loved ones.
While safety is of utmost importance and worth celebrating this holiday season, some military families might find that they are celebrating the holidays a little differently than they might have imagined. They might be celebrating as a family of divorce, or a family in the process of getting divorced.
According to data, the rate of military divorce is at its highest since 1999. The high rate includes Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps members. The following are divorce statistics for each group:
- Army: 3.7 percent of members who return get a divorce
- Navy: 3.6 percent of members who return get a divorce
- Air Force: 3.9 percent of members who return get a divorce
- Marine Corps: 3.8 percent of members who return get a divorce
The overall divorce rate for servicemembers is 3.7 percent, while the civilian population’s rate is an estimated 3.5 percent. Research indicates that the civilian divorce rate has steadily decreased in recent years, making the difference between marriage trends among military and civilian families stand out even more.
USA Today does not provide any theories regarding the increased military divorce rate. Some might suggest that war changes a person, and it’s hard for servicemembers to come home and return to the normal family lifestyle. What do you think might contribute to the higher divorce rate?
USA Today: “Military divorce rate at highest level since 1999,” Gregg Zoroya, Dec. 13, 2011