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THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF MILITARY FAMILIES AND CHILDREN Military Child Education Coalition Training Seminar Molly Clever Center for Research on Military Organization.

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Presentation on theme: "THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF MILITARY FAMILIES AND CHILDREN Military Child Education Coalition Training Seminar Molly Clever Center for Research on Military Organization."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF MILITARY FAMILIES AND CHILDREN Military Child Education Coalition Training Seminar Molly Clever Center for Research on Military Organization University of Maryland

2 Objectives  What do we know?  How do we know it?  What do we need to know?

3 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)

4 What do we need to know?  A decade of war  Increased strain on service members and families  Mission readiness requires timely data about well- being and satisfaction of families

5 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

6 Data Sources  Research organizations  Quantitative and qualitative data analysis  Perceptions, outcomes, trajectories  Sources:  Military Child Education Coalition  RAND  Pew Research Center

7 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

8 Understanding the Military Family Population  Appropriate comparisons  Employed and relatively young  Age distribution  Military: 18 and over, two-thirds under age 30  Civilians: in the labor force, evenly distributed  Gender distribution  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

9 General Demographics Active DutySelected Reserve* Comparable Civilian Population** Total Population1,411,425855,86791,208,300 Average Age Sex Female14.5%18.0%47.3% Male85.5%82.0%52.7% Race White or Caucasion69.8%75.7%72.2% Black or African American16.9%15.0%12.9% Asian3.8%3.1%5.7% All other races and multiple races9.6%6.2%9.2% Ethnicity Hispanic11.2%9.8%19.2% Non-Hispanic88.8%90.2%80.8% Education (highest degree achieved) No High School diploma or GED0.5%2.4%10.7% High School diploma or GED79.1%76.8%60.1% Bachelor's degree11.3%14.3%20.0% Advanced degree7.0%5.5%9.2% Unknown2.1%1.0%-- Marital Status Now married56.6%47.7%43.0% Divorced/Separated4.5%7.3%10.0% Widowed/other0.1%0.2%0.4% Never married38.8%44.7%46.1% Children With dependent children at home44.2%43.3%43.1% Average number of children at home2.0  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.

10 Marriage and Family Formation  : 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”

11 Percent Married Among Active Duty Military Personnel and Civilian Counterparts,* 2011 *Civilian counterparts are year olds in the labor force. Source: Office of the Secretary of Defense. Population Representation in the Military Services, 2011.

12 Percent Married Among Junior Enlisted and Comparable Civilians Sources: DMDC Active Duty Family Marital Status Report (2011), March 2010 Current Population Survey

13 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.

14 Children

15 Age Distribution of Children in Active Duty and Guard/Reserve Families by Service Branch, Fy2011

16 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

17 Family Status of Active Duty Force by Race/Ethnicity and Gender

18 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

19 Family Transitions and the Military Lifestyle  Military families are diverse and dynamic  Move between active, Guard/Reserve, and veteran communities  The “greedy institution” framework (Segal 1986, Segal & DeAngelis 2013)  Military and family compete for time, energy and commitment  Almost all will experience:  Frequent moves  Deployments  Separation and reunion  Military lifestyle presents both challenges and opportunities, hardships and advantages

20 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

21 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

22 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)

23 Family Reunion  Re-negotiation of roles  54% of teenagers reported fitting returned parent back into home routine most difficult problem

24 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

25 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 active- Guard/Reserve-veteran transitions  Integrate research on military children with civilian children  Unique environment for understanding impact of policies and programs on well-being

26 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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