US Divorce Rates by Occupation and Gender

Personal care aid, cook.

The table below shows the percentage of men and women in the top 50 occupations who got divorced in the previous year, according to the 2021 American Community Survey. At the top of the list, for example, 3% of women personal care aides and 2% of men cooks reported getting divorced in 2021. (The numbers are adjusted for age and years married.) At the bottom, just 0.9% of women lawyers and 0.7% of male engineers got divorced. The big story, consistent with more detailed trend analysis, is that more privileged people — by occupation, education, income, race and ethnicity — have lower divorce rates. Marriage is unequally distributed.

Lawyer, engineer.

This is better than the various popular lists that attempt to show divorce rates by occupation. All the ones I’ve seen (not linking here) have used as the “divorce rate” the percentage of workers in each occupation that have a divorced current marital status. It takes a little more microdata manipulation to actually calculate a divorce incidence rate, which is much more meaningful than a divorce prevalence rate, which reflects divorces occurring at any time in the past, and is affected by remarriage rates, mortality, and so on. So, this list is better.

Note these occupations represent 58% of ever-married adults. They all have a large sample size (>1000 at least).

The Stata code to read in the ACS file from IPUMS and produce this table, and the Excel sheet with the table, are available here:

3 thoughts on “US Divorce Rates by Occupation and Gender

  1. Divorce rates could be significantly reduced if we had a different view of how marriage should be. To begin with, today most married couples have had other sex partners before the spouse. Sex is a biological need. After marriage most couples do enjoy sex for a while & then as time passes they get bored with the sameness of the spouse. Sexual frustration is a primary cause of cheating. Then the cheating causes a major unhappiness & arguments over other things gets more frequent.

    It is my belief that marital vows need to change. Since most couples have had sex with others prior to marriage why not agree that sex with others would be acceptable after marriage. If both partners felt free to enjoy sex with anyone anytime there would be so much less frustration & a lot more sexual pleasure.


  2. This would be even more interesting if it were adjusted for the average wage of the occupation. Some jobs (police officers, ceos) seem higher than would be the norm for the occupational rewards of the job. Can’t really see any lower.


  3. Can you tell us where some other occupations fall even though they aren’t in the top 50?
    —Active military
    —US Postal Service
    —Stay-at-home (men and women), unemployed and not looking


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