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Military Divorce Rate Levels Off, But Not for Female Troops or Marines

Divorce rate holding steady overall
Divorce rate holding steady overall

Sara Wilson reports on Huffington Post that newly released Pentagon statistics show that the military divorce rate, which had increased each of the last five years, did not increase overall in 2010.

Amy Bushatz at asked Benjamin Karney, a professor at UCLA who has studied marriage with the RAND Corporation for the Department of Defense, if this plateau is part of a downward trend. He said probably not:

According to the Pentagon report, despite the overall number leveling off, the divorce rate in subgroups like Marines, and Airmen, and female servicemembers, increased slightly, as in years past, while remaining constant for sailors and soldiers. Divorce rates among enlisted female servicemembers also increased in every service except the Navy, where they remained unchanged at 7.8 percent - still more than double that of their male counterparts. In the Army, the female enlisted divorce rate is three times that of enlisted males.

I want to know why. I want to hear from you. Why do you think the divorce rate is so much higher for female troops than male troops, and why is it still on the rise among Marines?

Officials tell Bushatz that the overall positive numbers are evidence that programs designed to aid military marriages are starting to work despite almost a decade of war and stress on families. Since the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, the divorce rate has increased from 2.6 percent in 2001 to 3.6 percent in 2009, says According to DoD the rate remained at 3.6 percent in 2010. Some military family researchers and advocates say the Pentagon shouldn't get too excited at this point. They fear the divorce rate plateau is temporary.

Stephanie Himel-Nelson, a spokesperson for the military support organization Blue Star Families, told