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What Percentage of Military Marriages End in Divorce? [Stats Included!]

Written by Everett Bledsoe / Fact checked by Brain Bartell

what percentage of military marriages end in divorce

Did you know that the military has a much higher divorce rate compared to other professions? To give you an idea, the divorce rate within the army, particularly within the Marine branch, is twice as high as the national average, which is around 1.6%.

So, what percentage of military marriages end in divorce? Statically speaking, this figure hovers around 3 and 3.1%, with army women being more susceptible to split-up than men.

Keep reading for the specifics. We will provide more military marriage statistics below.

Military Marriages Divorce Rate


Based on data disclosed annually by the Pentagon, married military members have divorced at a rate of 3 to 3.1% in recent years. There are, however, differences between males and females, as well as between enlisted members and officers. Let’s look at the percentages now.

1. Divorce in the Military – Statistics

Year Percentage of divorce in the military
2016 3.2%
2017 3.1%
2018 3.0%
2019 3.09%

Although the statistic suggests that the rates of military divorce tend to decrease gradually, it’s still alarming compared to other professions.

2. Rates in Males and Females

In 2019, around 30,608 military marriages ended in divorce. The divorce rate for males was 2.5 percent, while the rate for females was a shocking 7 percent. That means females’ divorce rate in the military is almost triple that of males.

3. Rates in Enlisted Members and Officers

Between enlisted members and officers, the former has a much higher divorce rate – twofold, to be exact. While the percentage of marriages ending in divorce among officers is only 1.7%, it skyrockets up to 3.5 among enlisted.

One possible reason behind such a discrepancy is the salary. Whereas an enlisted member with less than 2 years of experience can only earn a little over $3000 per month, an officer with the same amount of experience has a monthly salary of $11,635.

Factors That Affect the Military Divorce Rates


1. Age

In general, the younger the military couple is when they get married, the more likely they are to divorce. One common reason is that the couples feel they have tied the knot too soon, making them regret their decision.

In addition, age is often tied in with rank and length of service, which can indirectly impact the divorce rate as well.

2. Rank

As mentioned just now, rank plays a role in the divorce rates for military couples.

  • Enlisted members are not as likely as officers to remain married. One possible explanation for this is that enlisted members do not have as much financial stability as officers.
  • First-line enlisted supervisors who lead and govern enlisted members have a high rate of divorce (30%). This may be because the higher rank gives supervisors more responsibilities and stress, which negatively impacts their relationships.
  • The divorce rate is higher for those in more elite troops, like the SOF (Special Operations Forces). In fact, it was rumored in 2016 that 80% of SOF marriages end in divorce and tears!

3. Branch

Divorce rates also differ by branch. The Air Force divorce rate is at 3.3 percent, the same as the Marine Corps, while the Navy’s divorce rate is at only 2.8 percent.

There are differences between branches because:

  • The nature of work and stress is distinct for each branch. Some branches may assign more stressful tasks, whereas others have more frequent deployments or longer missions.
  • The housing policy varies from branch to branch. Some allow military members to live with their family or spouse, whereas some don’t.
  • The military family community is different in every branch. There are branches that are more actively supportive of military spouses and families.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Why is the military divorce rate so high?

There are several factors that contribute to the scraping military divorce rate, such as:

  • Stress. Members of the military work under dangerous conditions 24/7. Hence, it is not surprising that they endure a lot of stress, which can be detrimental to a relationship.
  • Other Mental Troubles. This might include post-traumatic stress (PTSD), depression, and anxiety caused by service. Members with mental struggles are likely to “fall out” with their spouses.
  • Injuries. A military member can sustain injuries while in service, which can cause issues in their marital life.
  • Infidelity. This is very common in the military. Cheating can happen on either side for various reasons. Often, separation is the cause.
  • Financial Problems. Spouses would usually move with their military husbands/ wives on deployments. This can be expensive enough to pose financial difficulties. It can impact the spouses’ careers, translating to financial problems, as well.

For more personal insights, check out military marriage Reddit threads.

How often do military marriages fail?

As explored above, the military divorce rate is between 3 and 3.1%. This means about 1 person in 30 people split with their spouse.

What U.S. military branch has the highest divorce rate?

In the past, the Army divorce rate was the highest. However, more recently, the Air Force and the Marine Corps’ divorce rates are in the lead. In 2019, the Navy’s divorce rate was the lowest. 

Military divorce rate vs. civilian. Are divorce rates higher in the military?

Unfortunately, there is no clear answer. Although there are rates expressed in percentage for the military and civilians, these are measured in different ways and, thus, are not comparable.

  • The military calculates the divorce rate by comparing the number of married members in the Pentagon’s system with the number of reported divorces in a year.
  • The civilian divorce rate is computed per 1,000 residents, except in 6 states.

What is the veteran divorce rate?

The divorce rate for combat veterans is a staggering 80 percent! A big reason is that veterans are not able to return to civilian life like they were before. Injuries and mental problems are also common “culprits.”

Is the military not family-friendly?

Even though it is true that the divorce rate is high in the military, this is not the same as not being family-friendly. The military actually provides a lot of programs and resources to support military families. If you are a military spouse, you should definitely reach out to take advantage of them.


Now that you have finished this blog post, you should have a good idea of “What percentage of military marriages end in divorce?” In 2019, the divorce rate was 3.09 percent. This rate is three times higher for females than it is for males. Other factors can also influence, like age, rank, and branch.

Hopefully, this has given you the answer you are looking for. If you have any relevant thoughts to share or questions to ask, feel free to leave them in the comments. We will get back to you as soon as we can

Related: Military spouse divorce alimony

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