The Chicago Family Law Blog

Study Looks At Divorce Rates By Occupation

If you marry a dancer instead of a nuclear engineer, are you more or less likely to need the services of a divorce attorney in Chicago? What sounds like a rhetorical question was put to the test in a new study that breaks down divorce rates by occupation, as reported by The Washington Post.

The study was conducted by Radford University professor Michael Aamodt and will be published in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology. His prior research mostly concerned the personalities of police officers, including one in which he debunked the myth that police officers have a higher-than-average suicide rate.

When Michael Aamodt began researching the domestic lives of cops, he had difficulty obtaining divorce statistics based on occupation. So study co-author Shawn P. McCoy pressed for (and eventually got) US Census Bureau data about divorce rates by occupation.

Realizing the potentially widespread interest in such information, they expanded the study and looked at a wide spectrum of occupations.

In answer to the opening question; dancers (and choreographers) had the highest divorce rate (43.1 percent). But agricultural, sales and nuclear engineers were among the 10 occupations with the lowest rates (percentages were not provided). 

Other professions with low divorce rates are optometrists (4 percent), clergy (5.6 percent) and podiatrists (6.8 percent). 

But while it may be more enlightening to know why different occupations are more hazardous to your marriage than others, the authors point out that the data doesn't suggest whether it's the job the leads to divorce or if certain people who are prone to divorce are attracted to certain jobs.

While Michael Aamodt said several of his graduate students are looking into the why, he acknowledged that the study probably raises more questions than it answers:

"Why are bartenders this way and engineers that way? Unfortunately we just don't know."

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