Research Links Occupation to Divorce

  • Statistical analysis shows link between specific careers and divorce.
  • Data examines education and salary and how that may affect the link.
  • Individual dynamics of personal relationships need to be factored in, in order to form a more holistic perception.
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Ever since the beginnings of no-fault divorce in 1969, Americans have been on a constant hunt for data on the institution of divorce and possible causes for it. This has sparked studies around the globe with theories that try to explain why they occur, where they occur, what is connected to their occurrence, and what you can do to avoid one.

Everything from climate change to unemployment to video games have been studied and shown data that links to divorce in some fashion.

The study

A recent study by FlowingData, a statistical analysis organization dedicated to monitoring trends in data, examined how one’s occupation determines the likelihood of getting a divorce. They took a look at the data from the 2015 American Community Survey and looked at which jobs had the highest and lowest divorce rates.

The divorce rate for bartenders, flight attendants and casino workers is more than 50 percent. The lowest divorce rates belonged to actuaries, physical scientists, medical scientists, and life scientists.

Education and salary

This data can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Many look to view it through the lens of education. Salary level tends to be linked to one’s education level, and given that the data regarding median salary of occupations and the divorce rate of the given occupation suggests that bartenders, casino workers, and flight attendance are the top three median salaries that have the highest divorce rates, it should not be seen as surprising.

From an educational perspective, those in the fields of bartending, casino working, and flight attending are not required to have a higher level of education, in order to qualify for the positions. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that they would make less than those that work positions that require a specific level of education, which is often linked to one’s divorce rate.

‘Correlation is not causation’

However, the study is quick to point out that correlation is not causation. According to founder Nathan Yau, if someone who is already a physician quits and takes a job as a bartender, it does not mean that their chances of divorce changes.

Furthermore, those with certain occupations tend to be from similar demographics, according to the United States Census Bureau. This factors into how the individuals live their lives and affects the decisions that they make, regarding their occupation.

Variety of factors

This goes back into how occupation affects one’s potential for a divorce. If they are making decisions regarding their occupation based on education, demographics, and earning potential, then it can be theorized that they are making marital decisions based on equally-valued factors.

That can be observed when viewing the data for the lower divorce rates and how they relate to occupation. If you take a look at the bottom three in divorce rate by occupation, you will see fields related to math, computers, health, and science. The social aspects of these professions take a backseat to the practicality of the work being done.

Depending on one’s personality and the variety of factors that can be found in one’s background, one’s decision in what they educationally and professionally pursue can be similarly structured to the qualities one values when starting a relationship. For example, they may possess similar values or be of similar socioeconomic demographics. Whether it is two people in a relationship or the link between education and earning potential with occupation, commonality can create connection in both instances.

Individualism and emotion

While we, as a society can observe the growing ways that divorce conceptually interacts with other institutions and entities, we have to be able to acknowledge the role of individualism and how it plays a factor in the divorce experience. Outside of crime, substance abuse, and other negative influences to the individual, divorce trends discount the individual dynamics that form within relationships.

Those that research trends in divorce look to generalize and understand on a broad scale, but a relationship between two individuals is not broad in nature. It is specific and determined by the decisions, interactions, and actions taken between the two in question.

While the need to conduct this type of research is rooted in a good natured pursuit of knowledge, it is important to note the emotional foundation of the institutions being discussed. Just as people become invested in their careers, so do people become invested in their relationships. Whether it is a company closing its doors or a spouse taking your kids, dynamics are in play outside of data, and it is important to factor that into your perception of these educated and well-researched reports.

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