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Living On or Off Base -- Which is Better?


Many military members have the choice to live on-base or off-base. So, which is better? There is no clear answer. It depends on your branch of service, the base you're assigned to, the policies of your base/command, whether you are married or single, and whether you are a junior member or have a few years of service under your belt.

During my 23 years of active duty service, I've lived on-base and I've lived off-base. My twin daughters (both in the Air Force) have also lived on and off base. I have numerous military friends who have also tried both sides of the street. The results are mixed.

Living in the Barracks, or Off-Base - Which is Better?

Official Army Photo
If you are single and of relatively low enlisted rank, the choice is pretty simple. You will probably not be allowed to live off-base at government expense. Note that I didn't say you would not be allowed to live off base. After you get to your first permanent duty assignment, most commands will allow you to move out of the dormitories/barracks and move off-base, if you want. However, the rent (and utilities, etc.) will have to come out of your base pay.

Living in Military Housing or Off-Base - Which is Better?

Official Army Photo
Members who have dependents usually have the option of living on-base in military family housing for free, or off-base and receive a monthly housing allowance.

Readers Respond: Would You Rather Live On or Off Base?

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