This isn’t the kind of material this blog usually deals with, but there’s something fascinating in this recent report from Nathan Yau at flowingdata.com.
The report looks at divorce statistics across different occupational groups and shows some interesting things about physical therapists in the United States. How much the findings can be extrapolated to other populations is debatable, but my sense is that there are some sociological principles at play here: perhaps about the linkage between one’s profession, education and income and life fulfillment, that needs to be considered.
The first set of data looks at divorce rates by occupation, and physical therapists come out with some of the lowest prevalence of divorce across all the listed occupations (click on the image to see an expanded view).
Physiotherapists, along with software developers, physical scientists, and optometrists make up some of the least divorce-prone occupations, whereas flight attendants, telemarketers, gaming cage workers and, interestingly, massage therapists make up some of the highest.
The report goes on to speculate whether one’s educational level is a factor, and points us to a report from 2016 (also on flowingdata.com), that looks at divorce rates by employment status, education, and race. Again, the data is from the U.S. but also reveals some interesting sociological phenomena.
For instance, being unemployed increases one’s chances of being divorced or married more than once, but also closes the gap between men and women.
Having a post-school qualification reduces your chances of getting divorced, but the effect of advanced study (masters and beyond) is less noticeable.
One’s salary also appears to play a part. In Yau’s analysis, there is a subtly inverse relationship between divorce rates and salary, with those earning the highest generally having lower rates. Physiotherapists don’t earn as much as some of their allied health colleagues here; particularly podiatrists, pharmacists, and nurse anaesthetists, but their divorce rates are comparably low.
Clearly, this data is partial and doesn’t seek to imply causality from correlation, but it is interesting all the same.
Physical therapy remains an attractive career option for many young people, and the reasons for that are many and varied. For some, it’s the ability to do the hands-on bodywork, for others it’s the autonomy or the professional interest it generates in people at parties.
However, we understand it, small, seemingly unrelated data like this can add depth to our understanding of the profession, and give us a clearer idea how and how it contributes to the social fabric of our world.