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Keywords:

  • family formation;
  • fertility;
  • marriage;
  • U.S. military

Although female employment is associated with lower levels of completed fertility in the civilian world, we find family formation rates among U.S. military women to be comparatively high. We compare enlisted women with civilian women using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (N = 3,547), the only data set to measure simultaneously the nuptiality and fertility of both populations. Using propensity score matching, we show that the fertility effect derives primarily from early marriage in the military, a surprisingly “family-friendly” institution. This shows that specific organizational and economic incentives in a working environment may offset the more widespread contemporary social and economic factors that otherwise depress marriage and fertility.