Workforce

Bartenders and servers lead American workers in divorces, study finds

Holders of those restaurant positions end up splitting with their spouses twice as often as their counterparts in other jobs.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Bartenders and servers tend to divorce their spouses at twice the rate of workers across all U.S. occupations, making those two restaurant jobs by far the most perilous ones for married couples, new research shows.

The report by the financial service LendingTree.com found that 4.34% of bartenders’ marriages and 3.40% of waitstaffers’ unions tend to end in divorce. That compares with a propensity across all jobs of 1.8%.

In both professions, women are appreciably more likely than men to get divorced.

LendingTree researchers noted that stresses peculiar to the two job are likely the reasons for the high rate of marriage casualties.

Bartenders, they note, have the double whammy of low wages and often unpredictable hours. In the best of times, those shifts fall during the times when couples traditionally seek to be together, such as night times and weekends.

Low wages also increase the possibility of a split for servers. In addition, front-of-house staff members have a higher propensity than U.S. workers as a whole to suffer from anxiety and depression, according to LendingTree, which cited those factors as common stressors for a marriage.

Other restaurant jobs also appeared on LendingTree’s ranking of professions with the highest rates of divorce. Dishwashers ranked seventh, with 2.64% of their marriages ending in divorce, and fast-food workers finished 11th, with a rate of 2.47%.

LendingTree looked at fields of work as well as the individual positions within each. Only military and healthcare support work—nurses, aides and the like—had higher incidences of divorce than foodservice.

The research is based on LendingTree's analysis of occupational and marriage data contained in the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 2019.

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