You could probably fill up 50 of the world’s largest libraries with writings about marriage alone. So many people spend as much, if not more, time with their “work spouses” than their actual spouses. The hunt for more money to meet our unlimited wants and needs is always top-of-mind. The divorce rate is always subject to scrutiny – it turns out that the rate varies when different factors are considered – race, education level, employment status, and occupation.
Occupation? Yes, there are actually occupations that lead to higher rates of divorce than other occupations. Statistician Nathan Yau, reporting for Flowing Data, recently aggregated divorce data from the US Census Bureau’s 5-Year American Community Survey from 2015, which covers a broad range of social, economic, and demographic topics and includes data on roughly 500 occupations. For each occupation, Yau calculated a divorce rate based on the percentage of people who divorced out of those who married at least once.
Here are the occupations with the highest divorce rates:
10. Extruding, Forming, Pressing, and Compacting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders – 48.8%
Factory workers, as it turns out, have some of the highest divorce rates out there. And those who set up and operate machinery that forms glassware, rubber, soap, brick, tile, cosmetics, food, etc. are some of them. In this male-dominated industry, 48.8 percent of people get divorced at least once during their lifetimes.
“Generally speaking, these jobs do not pay a particularly high salary or wage,” Steven Fernandez, a certified family law specialist, explained. “Long hours and low wages can be a disastrous combination in a marriage.”
9. Textile Knitting and Weaving Machine Operators – 48.9%
With the monotonous and grueling labor involved in this field of work, 48.9 percent of those involved in textile knitting and weaving operations wind up getting divorced.
“What strikes me about these professions is that there appears to be shift work involved,” Patricia M. Barbarito, a managing partner at Einhorn Harris law firm in New Jersey, told Prevention. “One could speculate that the lack of a routine or schedule makes it difficult to stay connected and therefore to remain married.”
8. Telemarketers – 49.2%
The Flowing Data study found that approximately 49.2 percent of telemarketers eventually get divorced, which again could be because of work-related stress.
“Telemarketers have apparently drawn the short straw in life: They get to listen to people all day who hang up on them, yell at them, and be discourteous, then they have to go home and be kind in their marriage,” Amy Saunders, a family law and divorce attorney based outside Boston, told Prevention. “Work does spill over into life, and it can either build you up or break you down.”
7. Extruding and Drawing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic – 49.6%
Yet another factory job that leads to the dissolution of marriages is operators of machines that extrude or draw plastic or metal into tubes, rods, hoses, wire, bars, etc. These workers have a 49.6 percent divorce rate, and that could be because of money.
The average employee in this field earns $13.22 per hour, and it turns out, those with low-income jobs are less likely to be happy in their marriages. According to Bloomberg, only 53 percent of those who describe themselves as lower class rate themselves as happy in marriage, compared to 70 percent among the upper class. Unfortunately, “the people who are most likely to get divorced have the least resources to deal with its impact, particularly on children,” Penn State sociologist Paul Amato told Time.
6. Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service – 49.7%
With the average switchboard operator earning $12.91 per hour, money might end up being the reason an alarmingly high number (49.7 percent) of those who do this job end up divorced.
It could also be about the interpersonal element of this profession. “Switchboard operators interact on the telephone with many people, and I wonder if those conversations could lead to relationships being developed,” Barbarito told Prevention.
5. Rolling Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic – 50.1%
Those who operate rolling machines that shape or form plastics and metals have the highest divorce rate among factory workers, at 50.1 percent. In the case of factory workers across the board, stress related to finances constantly tests the strength of marriages.
A stay-at-home mom in California whose husband had a low-paying factory job told the Washington Post in 2015 about the stress she experienced. “I can’t afford child care to go to work. We can barely afford groceries. Our kid needs new shoes and clothes, and I can’t remember the last time [my husband] and I did something nice together,” she wrote. “Our relationship is so strained. How are you supposed to work through the problems in your relationship when you’re worried about how you’re going to buy milk for your kid?”
4. Gaming Services Workers – 50.3%
Gaming services workers, or supervisors of gaming machines at casinos, are more likely than not to get divorced. A whopping 50.3 percent of gaming services workers end up splitting from their spouses. “They work in an area that involves exposure to alcohol and interact with lots of people in a very celebratory environment, which could result in someone straying,” Barbarito told Prevention.
3. Flight Attendants – 50.5%
With 50.5 percent of all flight attendants’ marriages ending in divorce, it’s clear that absence does not always make the heart grow fonder.
According to a study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, flight attendants may get divorced more than the average U.S. employee due to the issues that arise from their high-stress job. Of those flight attendants who participated in the study, 17.2 percent cited “psychological distress,” which can certainly lead to divorce.
2. Bartenders – 52.7%
You’re probably not surprised to learn that among all career fields, bartenders have the second-highest divorce rate at 52.7 percent. “Bartenders listen to other people’s problems, which can open the door to an affair,” Saunders told Prevention. “When you complain about your spouse, the opportunity for an affair is signaled to whoever listens, aka, the bartender.”
1. Gaming Managers – 52.9%
Those who manage workers in casinos have the highest rate of divorce: 52.9 percent, according to the Flowing Data survey. A workday for gaming managers comes with several temptations, like copious alcohol and, of course, gambling. With the irregular hours mixed in and the stress of managing others, this job can wreak havoc on a marriage.
Another issue, of course, is the hours. “Most bartenders can’t leave until their last customer leaves, so they often have very little control of their schedules,” family law attorney Allison Maxim added. “It’s hard to plan time alone with your spouse with such an inconsistent schedule.”