Millennials May Contribute to Decline in Military Divorce Rates


The divorce rate for couples representing younger generations across the U.S. has steadily decreased. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, the median age in 2016 for a first marriage was 29.5 for men and 27.4 for women. 

Millennials have a reputation for delaying marriage until later in life, such as until after serving in the military or completing college. Their reluctance to tie the knot earlier may contribute to fewer marriages leading to dissatisfying relationships and a subsequent divorce. 

Fewer divorces in the military 

As noted by Army University Press, millennials comprised more than 80% of the U.S. Army in 2017. For marriages involving members of our armed forces, the high percentage of millennials in active service may play a role in the military divorce rate showing a slight but continual decline. 

As reported by, 2.7% of the married active troops at the start of 2018 went through a divorce during that year. While this presented only a 1% decline from the prior year’s divorce rate of active troops, it nonetheless remains part of a continuing downward trend. 

Higher divorce rate for female service members 

Data reveals that gender may play a role in military divorce rates. More than twice as many marriages of female service-member ended in 2018 compared to those of males. This reflects the historical precedent when comparing male and female service-member marriages. 

Divorced spouses and military benefits 

While becoming less common, divorce is still a reality many servicemen and women face. Factors that contribute to a military divorce may include extreme stress and economic circumstances. When financial difficulties get in the way of a relationship, some couples may turn to divorce as a solution. 

Under certain circumstances, a non-military ex-spouse may be eligible for a service member’s benefits, such as medical care. The situation may become more complex when the couple has been residing in military family housing.