A new report indicates that divorce rate among the US armed forces has continued its upward trend in recent years as the service members fought wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Like previous years, women in uniform suffered much higher divorce rates than their male counterparts - 7.7 percent in 2009, compared to 3 percent for men.
There were an estimated 27,312 divorces among roughly 765,000 married members of the active-duty Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps in the budget year that ended September 30. This equates to a divorce rate of about 3.6 percent for fiscal year 2009, compared with 3.4 percent a year earlier.
Apparently, that 3.6 percent rate is a full percentage point above the 2.6 percent reported in late 2001, when the US began sending troops to Afghanistan in response to the September terrorist attacks.
In Iraq in 2003, 12.4% of married soldiers surveyed in 2003 in Iraq said they planned to divorce or separate after returning home. This year, nearly 23% of soldiers fighting in Iraq made those claims, according to Army data.
The percentage of soldiers in Iraq who say they have a good marriage has declined from about 80% in 2003 to about 60% in 2008.
The divorce rate within the Army is not the highest among the services - Air Force enlisted personnel registered a 4.3% divorce rate this year. But the Army is the largest service, with 100,000 more married troops than the Air Force, and is the only service that has shown a steady increase in divorce among enlisted service members for several years.
There's no comparable annual system for tracking the national or civilian divorce rate, though some figures available indicate that in 2005, 43 percent of all first marriages ended in divorce within 10 years.