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Previous studies have shown that military wives — women married to U.S. military service members — are more likely to be unemployed and earning less than their civilian counterparts. But these studies rely on information that is somewhat dated, and they have little to say about military husbands. This study revisits the gaps in employment and earnings between military and civilian wives using the 2000 census, and extends these analyses to include military husbands. Military spouses continue to be at a relative disadvantage in the labor market compared with civilian spouses. Even though policies that target demographic disparities such as mobility, location, and child care may reduce the gaps to a certain extent, they will not affect the portion attributable to unobserved factors that are not captured in the census data, such as employer’s attitude.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Profile of Military Wives

  • Chapter Three

    Military and Civilian Wives’ Employment Conditions

  • Chapter Four

    Profile of Military Husbands

  • Chapter Five


  • Appendix

    Results of Statistical Analysis

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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