​Are miners more likely to be divorced?

A new study on the professions most likely to be married or divorced highlighted that despite conceptions on the industry, miners are amongst the professions most likely to be married.

A study by Bloomberg looking at occupations in the US where workers are most likely to be married or divorced, looking at decade blocks from the 1950s through to 2010 consistently rated miners amongst the top 20 professions where people are likely to be married.

The data flies in the face of much current anecdotal evidence on the state of relationships in the industry, and the linking earlier this century of Western Australia’s skyrocketing divorce rate to FIFO workers.

The study also showed that from 1990 to 2000, mining was the 4th rated occupation in which workers were likely to be married.

However, the occupation has dropped in ranking since that time.

For those most likely to be divorced, manufacturing occupations filled the top ten slots.

But how does this differ to Australia, which has a higher level of fly in fly out operations compared to the US?

In regards to actual divorce rates for FIFO miners in WA, the rate sat at around seven per cent, according to Mining Family Matters.

And in a recent study into specific divorce and separation rates in the Australian mining sector, the industry ranks below the all industries rate of 11.26 per cent, rating at 11.15 per cent.

The growth rate for separation and divorce in the industry also grew at a slower rate than the general population as well, increasing only 1.15 per cent compared to the wider 1.43 per cent for the total workforce.

According to one of the authors of the study, Lindsay Greer: “Perhaps the reason we think there's more divorce and separation in mining families is that the workforce is more geographically spread.”

“It is not to say that they're aren't problems linked to the mining industry or that FIFO doesn't cause issues, but it seems mining is not troubled by a high divorce rate,” he said.

“You don't take any notice when you learn that a dentist has got divorced, but when you are told that a miner's marriage has ended, it reinforces the stereotype.”

So the question must be asked, do you think Australia’s mining industry does have a high divorce rate, or is it simply a negative perception caused by the high levels of FIFO work?

Let us know.


Images: Dorothy Gambrell/ Bloomberg Business Week

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