Study Shows that Military Personnel Marry at Younger Age

According to a Department of Defense study, nearly half of active duty military personnel get married before they are 25 and two of three are married before the age of 30. That’s dramatically different from the general population, where the average age for a woman’s first marriage is 27 and a man’s first marriage is 29. Nearly 60 % of all active duty soldiers are married.

Researchers found that there’s still a tendency for young couples to tie the knot before one of the pair leaves on a permanent duty assignment, but say that doesn’t explain the percentages of military personnel who choose to get married at such a young age. Department of Defense officials, and some soldiers, have offered a variety of reasons for the trend:

  • Unlike civilian personnel, soldiers aren’t in training for years and don’t take the approach that they’ll wait until their career is established" to settle down
  • Many active duty personnel, especially those serving in combat zones, look to marriage to provide some sense of stability when the rest of their lives are unpredictable
  • The sense of loss that many soldiers experience, after the death of friends and fellow soldiers, gives them a feeling that life is tenuous and encourages them to be more proactive about the things they want to do with their lives
  • Many soldiers, especially male personnel, want to be remembered and desire children as a legacy, in the event they don’t make it home
  • Some decide to get married because they won’t have to live in barracks style housing and can get paid extra money for having a family

Though the trend has continued for military personnel to marry young, statistics show that, over the last 10 years, the rate of military divorce has steadily declined, from a high of nearly 4% in 2011 to just under 3 % last year. Officials say the biggest drop is among female soldiers, but don’t know how to account for the decline.

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