Overcoming Bias blog reports on an interesting American study of divorce rates by occupation. It found, among other things, that
Dancers and choreographers registered the highest divorce rates (43.1 percent), followed by bartenders (38.4 percent) and massage therapists (38.2 percent). … Three types of engineers — agricultural, sales and nuclear engineers — were represented among the 10 occupations with the lowest divorce rates.
Using 2006 census data for people aged 30 to 49 years I found that there were very similar patterns here. Of the groups I examined bar attendants and baristas were the most divorced or separated, with massage therapists second, and actors and dancers fourth.
As in the US, engineers were among the least likely to divorce, with accountants and solictors only slightly more prone to marital breakdown.
Class background and financial situation probably explains some of the differences. But plumbers, bricklayers and carpenters have slightly more stable marriages than psychologists and human resource professionals.
For most occupations, there is a general approach to marriage – those most likely to divorce are generally also least likely to get married in the first place (a negative correlation of about .75 between divorce rates and marriage rates).
I think personality types may explain some of these differences. The stable, sober, and methodical people who become engineers or accountants apply the same approach to their relationships. All the high-divorce occupations are people-oriented, and more likely to be populated be extroverts who go with their emotions. The kinds of jobs they seek may also provide more opportunities for short-term liaisons that are destabilising for long-term relationships.