Miners are less likely to be involved in divorce or relationship breakdowns, despite common belief, a new study shows.
According to research from CQ University, the divorce and separation rate in the mining industry is actually lower than the national average, the Morning Bulletin reports.
Common belief in the industry is that FIFO, long shifts and strains of mining are detrimental to marriages, but senior research officer Lindsay Greer uncovered that miners are bucking the national trend.
“It is assumed that higher rates of divorce and separation are one of the social ills of mining but I wanted to produce a paper based on hard evidence rather than assumptions,” Greer stated.
He studied census data from 1996, 2001 and 2006 to see if there was any actual evidence to the notion, but found that in Queensland (in 2006) the divorce and separation rate across all industries was 11.99%, but in mining was only 10.86%, and that while the Australian average was 11.26%, in mining it was a lower 11.15%.
“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.
However, Greer said that to date there has been no real studies on the specific impact that FIFO has on families, and that his research only goes so far.
“You are more likely to run into people in the industry now than in the past so you are more likely to hear stories about how couples have split.
“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,” he added.