The Demographics of Military Families and Children

Report
THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF MILITARY
FAMILIES AND CHILDREN
Military Child Education Coalition Training Seminar
Molly Clever
Center for Research on Military Organization
University of Maryland
[email protected]
Objectives

What do we know?

How do we know it?

What do we need to know?
Defining Military Family

Who is a military family member?
 President
& Joint Chiefs’ reports:
 “Supporting
communities”
 Immediate and extended family of active duty, Guard,
Reserve, veterans, and those who died in service
 Research:
 Household
dependents
 Legal spouses and dependent children (22 years and
younger)
What do we need to know?

A decade of war
 Increased
strain on service
members and families
 Mission
readiness requires
timely data about wellbeing and satisfaction of
families
Data Sources

Department of Defense
Demographic and administrative
 Diversity of military families
 Comparisons with civilian counterparts


Sources:
DoD: Demographics Profile of the Military Community
 Office of Personnel and Readiness: Population
Representation in the Military Services
 DoDEA: Annual Demographics Report and Report Cards
 Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC): limited access
personnel and family data

Data Sources

Research organizations
 Quantitative
and qualitative data analysis
 Perceptions, outcomes, trajectories

Sources:
 Military
Child Education Coalition
 RAND
 Pew
Research Center
Data Sources

Academic scholarship
 Military
sociology, public policy,
public health, medicine, psychology
 Varying disciplinary approaches

Sources:
 Military-focused
journals:
 Armed
Forces & Society
 Political and Military Sociology
 Military Psychology
 Military Medicine
 Family,
Education, and Public Health
journals
Understanding the Military Family Population

Appropriate comparisons


Age distribution



Military: 18 and over, two-thirds under age 30
Civilians: 18-45 in the labor force, evenly distributed
Gender distribution



Employed and relatively young
Military: about 15% women
Civilian labor force: 47.6% women
Dynamic population


Move between active, Guard/Reserve and veteran communities
Activated Guard/Reserve nearly impossible to identify in data
General Demographics
Active Duty
Selected Reserve*
Comparable Civilian
Population**
1,411,425
855,867
91,208,300
28.6
32.1
31.9
Female
14.5%
18.0%
47.3%
Male
85.5%
82.0%
52.7%
White or Caucasion
69.8%
75.7%
72.2%
Black or African American
16.9%
15.0%
12.9%
Asian
3.8%
3.1%
5.7%
All other races and multiple races
9.6%
6.2%
9.2%
Total Population
Average Age

Sex

Race

Ethnicity
Hispanic
11.2%
9.8%
19.2%
Non-Hispanic
88.8%
90.2%
80.8%
No High School diploma or GED
0.5%
2.4%
10.7%
High School diploma or GED
79.1%
76.8%
60.1%
Bachelor's degree
11.3%
14.3%
20.0%
Advanced degree
7.0%
5.5%
9.2%
Unknown
2.1%
1.0%
--
Now married
56.6%
47.7%
43.0%
Divorced/Separated
4.5%
7.3%
10.0%
Widowed/other
0.1%
0.2%
0.4%
Never married
38.8%
44.7%
46.1%
44.2%
43.3%
43.1%
2.0
2.0
2.0

Education (highest degree achieved)
Marital Status
Children
With dependent children at home
Average number of children at home
Perceived meritocracy of
military influences minority
decisions (Segal 1989)
Education requirements
exclude most without high
school diploma
Active duty members more
married, less divorced
Same number of children
across groups
Notes: *Selected Reserve is comprised of those members of the Ready Reserve who train
with reserve units throughout the year and participate in active duty training annually. The
Ready Reserve also includes the Individual Ready Reserve and the Inactive National Guard
components, which are comprised of members who have typically served on active duty in
the past but are currently not participating in regular organized training and are therefore
not included in these data.
**The comparable population is defined as 18 to 45 year old civilians in the labor force.
Source: Active duty and Selective Reserve data from DoD 2011 Demographics Profile.
Civilian data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2011 American Community Survey, obtained
through IPUMS.
Marriage and Family Formation


1973-2013: Transition from
draft to AVF
Draft era:
 “if
the Army wanted you to
have a wife it would have
issued you one”

AVF:
 “enter
single, marry young”
Percent Married Among Active Duty Military
Personnel and Civilian Counterparts,* 2011
100.0%
90.0%
80.0%
70.0%
60.0%
50.0%
40.0%
30.0%
20.0%
10.0%
0.0%
17
19
21
23
MALE MILITARY
25
27
29
FEMALE MILITARY
31
33
MALE CIVILIAN
35
37
39
41
43
45+
FEMALE CIVILIAN
*Civilian counterparts are 18-44 year olds in the labor force.
Source: Office of the Secretary of Defense. Population Representation in the Military Services, 2011.
Percent Married Among Junior Enlisted and
Comparable Civilians
40%
37%
36%
33%
35%
30%
24%
25%
Junior Enlisted (E1-E4)
20%
Civilian with comparable
earnings (ages 18-24)
15%
10%
5%
0%
Men
Women
Sources: DMDC Active Duty Family Marital Status Report (2011), March 2010 Current Population Survey
Young Marriage: Push and Pull Factors

Conservative values regarding marriage and gender roles (Franke 2001,
Lundquist 2004)



Influences marital/family decisions among civilians, but effect is small
Retention needs  family friendly policies

Health coverage, on-base day care, family programs and activities

Moving and housing allowances determined by family size
Contextual factors

Frequent moves

Scarcity of off-base housing

Potentially dangerous assignments

Teachman (2009): personal and contextual factors intersect to disincentivize
cohabitation among military males in relationships, esp. African Americans.
Children
Age Distribution of Children in Active Duty and
Guard/Reserve Families by Service Branch, Fy2011
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
Army
Navy
Marine Corps
Air Force
Total Active
Duty
Active Duty
Pre-school (0 to 5 years)
Army
Navy
Marine Corps
Air Force
Selected Reserve
Primary school (6 to 14 years)
High school and above (15 to 22 years)
Total
Selected
Reserve
Schooling


About 13% of military children in DoDEA schools
Remaining 87% in civilian schools
 Many
in high military-presence communities
 Educators in non-military communities have become
more responsive to challenges facing military children
over past 10 years (MCEC 2012)

Challenges in non-military presence communities
 Particularly
children in Guard/Reserve families
 Isolated from on-base resources
 Only child in school with deployed parent
Family Status of Active Duty Force by Race/Ethnicity and Gender
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
Dual service couple without children
Married to civilian without children
50%
Single, no children
40%
Dual service couple with children
Married to civilian with children
30%
Single Parent
20%
10%
0%
White, non- Non-white, Hispanic, all
Hispanic
non-Hispanic
Races
Men
White, non- Non-white, Hispanic, all
Hispanic
non-Hispanic
Races
Women
Family Dynamics

Socioeconomic status
 Enlisted/Officer
= Blue collar/White collar
 Military is more “blue collar” (83%) than civilian labor
force (61%)

Spouse employment
 Unemployment
and underemployment
 Earnings penalties

Dual service and single parents
 Family
separation
 Distance from extended family networks
Family Transitions and the Military Lifestyle

Military families are diverse and dynamic


The “greedy institution” framework (Segal 1986, Segal &
DeAngelis 2013)


Military and family compete for time, energy and commitment
Almost all will experience:




Move between active, Guard/Reserve, and veteran communities
Frequent moves
Deployments
Separation and reunion
Military lifestyle presents both challenges and opportunities,
hardships and advantages
Geographic Mobility


Military families are both
“tied migrants” and “tied
stayers” (Cooney et al.
2011)
Debunking the “military
family syndrome” myth
 Moving
and behavioral
problems
 Parental attitudes
 Supportive context
Family Separation

Branches experience different operational tempos
 Army:
39% of force, 54% of deployments in 2009
 Navy: 6 month rotations on land and at sea
 Guard/Reserve comprised one-third of all deployments
in OEF and OIF

Older and younger children face different stressors
 Young
children: grief, confusion, and loss
 Teenagers: understand dangers, renegotiation of family
roles
Family Separation

At all ages, well-being of residual parent predicts
children’s well-being
 68%
of teenagers report helping remaining parent
cope most difficult problem (RAND 2011)

Length of separation matters
 Longer
cumulative deployment time corresponds with
increased school performance problems (RAND 2011,
Engel et al. 2010)

Guard/Reserve children reported more behavioral
problems than active duty children (RAND 2011)
Family Reunion


Re-negotiation of roles
54% of teenagers
reported fitting returned
parent back into home
routine most difficult
problem
On the Homefront

Military families become veteran families
 Approximately
250,000 family members left military in
2011

Surge in attention to military families during 10
years of war
 Family
needs will continue after drawdowns
 Continuity and transformation in family well-being
needs
Research Recommendations

Longitudinal research that follows diverse family
forms through various transitions
 Gap
in knowledge about infants and young children
 Limited information on Guard/Reserve families
 Need for integrated data between activeGuard/Reserve-veteran transitions

Integrate research on military children with civilian
children
 Unique
environment for understanding impact of
policies and programs on well-being
Policy Recommendations

Flexible and adaptive
approaches
 Diversity
of family forms
 Gender integration and
same-sex families

Integrate with evaluation
literature in civilian
family programs

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