According to a study published in the Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology (and helpfully illustrated in Business Insider), dancers and choreographers have a 43.05% rate of divorce. Not far behind are bartenders, at 38.43%. And behind them, massage therapists (38.22%) and gaming cage workers (34.66%). But lest you think that all high-divorce jobs are those you'd be likely to find in Vegas, number 5 on the most-likely-to-divorce list are extruding machine operators, at 32.74% (for those not in the know, extruding machines "create objects of a fixed cross-sectional profile" made out of "metals, polymers, ceramics, concrete [or] foodstuffs"). Also pretty likely to get divorced: people who work at food or tobacco factories, at 29.78%.
Opinionators across the Internet have offered a variety of explanations for these data. My favorite is probably Business Insider commenter Tex, who says that high-divorce jobs "are fields in which questionable women get apparently way too much exposure to other men." I'm not sure exactly how he'd measure "too much" exposure to men, but he has a point — extruding is pretty dirty. Blogger Andrew Norton has a more thoughtful take: "Class background and financial situation probably explains some of the differences." And it's true that the average salaries of bartenders and dance choreographers (according to Salary.com) are lower than those of optometrists and sales engineers, two professions with very low divorce rates. Also, many low-divorce professions require a college education or beyond — and those who complete college are less likely to get divorced.
However, Norton notes that "plumbers, bricklayers and carpenters have slightly more stable marriages than psychologists and human resource professionals" — so education and income might not be the whole story. Writes Norton,
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.
I'm not sure that extrusion is people-oriented, but Norton's right that some other high-divorce jobs require a lot of human contact (sometimes literally, as is the case with massage therapists) — and it's true that extroverted people may have higher divorce rates. It's tempting to boil all this down to a catchy recommendation, like "watch out for extroverts" or "don't marry dancers." But the disparities in divorce rates between different jobs probably stem from a mix of personality and economic status, as well as factors like job satisfaction and hours. Given this complexity, people should probably just do what they're already doing, which is marrying who they want and hoping for the best. For fun, though, take a look at the divorce rates for different jobs in 1900. Draymen were steady fellows, but those professional showmen were such cads.
The 15 Jobs Where You're Most Likely To Get Divorced [Business Insider, via Newser]
The Jobs For Divorce [Andrew Norton]
Low-Divorce Jobs [Overcoming Bias]