Divorce and Occupation

Some jobs tend towards higher divorce rates. Some towards lower.

As people are marrying later and staying single longer, divorce continues to be common in the United States. It’s not the mythical “half of marriages end in divorce” common, but the percentages are up there.

Divorce rates vary a lot by group though. Rates are higher for the unemployed than employed. Divorce among Asians tends to be much lower than other races. Rates change a lot by education level.

So, let’s look at divorce rates by occupation. Using data from the 2015 American Community Survey, for each occupation, I calculated the percentage of people who divorced out of those who married at least once.

Each dot represents an occupation. Mouse over for details.

How fitting it is to see actuaries, assessors of risk and uncertainty, at the bottom with the lowest rate.
 

Below is a split view for each occupation category, sorted by highest median rate to lowest. Those in transportation and material moving, such as flight attendants and bus drivers, tend to have higher divorce rates. Those in architecture and engineering tend to have lower divorce rates.

 

It kind of looked like salary might be related. After all, education level seems to be. So, here’s divorce rates plotted against median salary per occupation. It’s looking downward slopey.

Those with higher salary occupations tend to have lower divorce rates. That seems pretty clear. But as you know, correlation isn’t causation. If someone who is already a physician, quits and takes a job as a bartender or telemarketer, it doesn’t mean their chances of divorce changes. It probably says more about the person than anything else.

Similarly, those with certain occupations tend to be from similar demographics, which then factors into how the individuals live their lives. But still — interesting. I’m still amused that actuaries ended up with the lowest rate.

Occupation Matchmaker

So that’s who gets divorced. This is who people marry.

Notes

Chart Types Used

Beeswarm

It emphasizes individual points in a distribution instead of binning them like a histogram.

Scatter Plot

Dots are placed in an x-y coordinate system, based on two variables. The plot is often used when it is thought that the variables are correlated.

Small Multiples

Use smaller versions of the same chart type to compare across categories.

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