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From Being in the Military to Tending Bar, These Are the Types of Jobs and Individual Occupations With the Highest Divorce Rates

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Divorce is often a difficult process, both emotionally and financially. Not only can figuring out what to do after you and your spouse split up be challenging, but the cost of paying for a divorce can leave you in debt.

Of course, there are many reasons why a couple’s marriage might not work out — from conflicting personalities to money issues, and even the types of jobs each partner works.

With that in mind, LendingTree used U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey data to determine what types of jobs and individual occupations have the highest divorce rates.

We found that while a majority of the workforce isn’t recently divorced, there are careers in which workers appear more likely to split from their spouses.

Key findings

  • The type of job with the highest divorce rate is military work. An estimated 3.09% of workers who were married and had this type of job in 2019 divorced that same year. That’s nearly double the national divorce rate of 1.6%.
  • Following military workers, those who have a job in health care support have the next highest divorce rate. Health care support workers (such as medical assistants, home health aides and orderlies) have a divorce rate of 2.65%, while those who work in food preparation and service occupations came in third at 2.49%.
  • Drilling down to the 100 most common individual occupations, bartenders top the list with a divorce rate of 4.34%. Waitstaff and home health aides round out the top three with estimated rates of 3.40% and 2.87%, respectively. Interestingly, individual occupations with the highest divorce rate tend to be jobs that may not be traditionally viewed as having status or prestige on an organizational level.
  • The jobs with the highest risk of divorce shift when looking individually at female and male workers. Bartenders still top the list for each gender, with divorce rates of 4.58% for women and 3.92% for men. Meanwhile, heating and cooling mechanics and installers slide up to second for women with a divorce rate of 4.41%, and receptionists and clerks land in second for men with a divorce rate of 3.12%.
  • For both women and men, the three jobs that are least likely to see those who work them get a divorce are clergy, farmers and ranchers and physicians. The average overall divorce rate across these three jobs is 0.70%.

Types of jobs with the highest divorce rates

No. 1: Military

  • Overall divorce rate: 3.09%
  • Divorce rate among women: 4.54%
  • Divorce rate among men: 2.90%

From accountant to member of the infantry, the types of jobs that people have in the military are incredibly diverse. While it isn’t always the case, careers in the armed forces can be stressful, and the work can take a toll on a marriage. This is especially true of those who are deployed and must risk both their physical and mental well-being while spending months away from their spouses.

Beyond the mental and physical stress, money is another issue that can strain a marriage. As with virtually any type of job, salaries vary quite a bit depending on what a person does and how much experience they have. With that said, many jobs within the military, especially entry-level active duty salaries, don’t pay highly. For example, a private second class — the rank a soldier is given after completing basic training — only brings in a base pay of about $2,055 a month.

These low earnings — combined with the stressful nature of military work — could mean that couples don’t have the energy, financial resources or time to address the problems in their relationship that could eventually lead to divorce.

No. 2: Health care support

  • Overall divorce rate: 2.65%
  • Divorce rate among women: 2.70%
  • Divorce rate among men: 2.25%

Health care support jobs include occupations like home health and personal care aides, nursing assistants, psychiatric aides and physical therapist assistants, to name a few. And though these jobs are unquestionably important and can provide people with great opportunities, there is no getting around how many aspects of this kind of work can put pressure on someone’s marriage.

For instance, someone working in this field generally isn’t likely to earn very much money, considering that the average annual wage across all health care support jobs is only $32,250. Further, they’re probably going to be expected to put up with mentally and physically challenging situations — like caring for a patient who can no longer eat, bathe or use the toilet on their own.

Like military work, this could result in a situation where someone who works in health care support becomes too tired, emotionally burned out and cash-strapped to work toward maintaining their relationship.

No. 3: Food preparation and serving

  • Overall divorce rate: 2.49%
  • Divorce rate among women: 2.64%
  • Divorce rate among men: 2.24%

Odd and erratic hours, as well as a low average annual wage of $27,650, are factors that can make it hard to maintain a marriage for those who have food preparation and serving jobs.

Since substance abuse can increase the likelihood of divorce, the prevalent usage of drugs and alcohol among members of the broader service industry could also contribute to the high rate of divorce among those who work these types of jobs.

Even if a person isn’t abusing drugs or alcohol, the lack of inhibition that being intoxicated can bring about could prompt someone to engage in risky behavior that leads to the end of their relationship — like cheating.

Individual occupations with the highest divorce rates

No. 1: Bartenders

  • Overall divorce rate: 4.34%
  • Divorce rate among women: 4.58%
  • Divorce rate among men: 3.92%

Two aspects of a bartender’s job that could strain a marriage include low pay and the type of hours they often have to work. As is the case with virtually any service industry job, a bartender may be called into work on short notice or required to work long hours, depending on the establishment. On top of that, a bartender may be more likely to work during times that many couples would prefer to spend together, like nights and weekends.

This combination of not having much time to spend with their significant others and the financial difficulties of earning a median salary of only $24,960 a year can easily be difficult obstacles to overcome for many marriages.

No. 2: Waiters and waitresses

  • Overall divorce rate: 3.40%
  • Divorce rate among women: 3.59%
  • Divorce rate among men: 2.69%

There are various reasons why waitstaff may tend to get divorced at higher rates than people who work other jobs. Like bartenders, they often work erratic schedules for a median annual salary of less than $25,000 ($23,740, to be exact). Besides low earnings, high levels of work-related mental stressors like anxiety and depression are also common among waitstaff.

While it’s possible to maintain a marriage while you’re stressed out about work or short on cash, the relatively high divorce rate among waitstaff is evidence that doing so can be difficult.

No. 3: Home health aides

  • Overall divorce rate: 2.87%
  • Divorce rate among women: 2.90%
  • Divorce rate among men: 2.50%

The job of a home health aide can be extremely challenging, and many aspects of it could potentially strain a person’s relationship.

For example, home health aides may need to work with clients that require a great deal of time and attention — attention and time that a spouse may feel is better spent with them.

Beyond that, the low median annual pay of $27,080 that home health aides earn could make it much more difficult for their relationship to weather the job’s time-consuming and mentally draining nature.

Tips for financially preparing for a divorce

Divorce can be a very emotionally difficult time. But if you don’t want to make your situation even more challenging, you’ve got to stay on top of your finances.

Here are three tips on how to do just that:

  • Consider using a personal loan to pay for a lawyer and other types of divorce-related expenses. Like marriage, divorce can be expensive. If you’re struggling to pay for common divorce-related bills like lawyer fees or moving costs, consider taking out a personal loan to help. In the middle of a stressful divorce, the last thing you want to do is worry about completely emptying your bank account.
  • Remember that bills you’re jointly responsible for don’t just disappear when you decide to end your relationship. Keep track of what bills you and your spouse were jointly responsible for and be sure to hash out who is accountable for paying what as soon as possible. If you don’t, you could risk seriously damaging your credit score or defaulting on a loan.
  • Streamline and consolidate your debts to help make paying them off easier on your own. If you’re still reeling from a divorce, it can be difficult to keep track of all the different bills you have to pay. By using a debt consolidation loan, you can not only reduce the number of payments you’ve got to make each month, but you can also potentially get a better rate on your debt and lower the amount of money you’ve got to spend on it.

Methodology

Analysts used microdata from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 2019 five-year estimates (latest available) to calculate the number of men and women in each tracked type of job and individual occupation who were married within 12 months of their survey responses and the number who divorced within 12 months of their responses.

The number of married individuals is the sum of people who reported they were married or separated, had been widowed in the last year or had been divorced in the last year. The number of divorced workers doesn’t include those who were married but separated.

The analysis was limited to the 100 individual occupations with the most workers for those rankings. However, all workers were included in the higher-level job type aggregations.

 

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