1. Careers
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Historic Military Pay Raises

By

Money and graph
Ivan Bajic/E+/Getty Images
Updated June 05, 2014

Since 1976, military pay has always been less than average civilian pay for similar jobs. Between 1980, and 1998, Congress actually capped military pay raises to below the average private sector raises in order to trim money off the Defense Budget. Due to this policy, the "pay gap" rose to a record of 13.5 percent. In other words, private sector workers made an average of 13.5 percent more than military members of similar training and experience. Since Fiscal Year 2000, Congress has reversed this policy, and as a result the "pay gap" between military members and the private sector has been reduced to only 2.9 percent.

The below chart depicts yearly military pay raises, average private sector raises, and the pay gap between military and civilian pay from 1976 to present. Note: The figures shown for 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2007 for military pay raises are the average percentage raise, as -- for those years -- Congress authorized a "targeted" raise for various military pay grades. In other words, during those years, some pay grades got a larger raise than others.

Historic Pay Raise Chart

Year Military Pay
Rase Percent
Average Private
Sector Raise
Pay Gap
1976 5.0 9.0 2.6%
1977 4.8 7.0 4.8%
1978 7.1 6.8 4.5%
1979 5.5 7.5 6.5%
1980 7.0 7.8 7.3%
1981 11.7 9.1 4.8%
1982 14.3 9.1 0.0%
1983 4.0 8.1 3.9%
1984 4.0 5.6 5.5%
1985 4.0 5.1 6.7%
1986 3.0 4.4 8.1%
1987 3.0 4.2 9.4%
1988 2.0 3.5 11.0%
1989 4.1 3.5 10.3%
1990 3.6 4.4 11.2%
1991 4.1 4.4 11.5%
1992 4.2 4.2 11.5%
1993 3.7 3.7 11.5%
1994 2.2 2.7 12.1%
1995 2.6 3.1 12.6%
1996 2.4 2.9 13.1%
1997 3.0 2.8 12.9%
1998 2.8 3.3 13.5%
1999 3.6 3.6 13.5%
2000 6.2 4.3 11.4%
2001 4.1 3.2 10.5%
2002 6.9 4.1 7.6%
2003 4.7 3.6 6.5%
2004 4.2 3.1 5.4%
2005 3.5 3.0 4.9%
2006 3.1 2.6 4.4%
2007 2.7 2.2 3.9%
2008 3.5 3.0 3.4%
2009 3.9 3.4 2.9%

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.