Working around the clock to till the fields or raise livestock leaves very little time to also sow the seeds of love.
But as it turns out, farmers and agricultural workers have figured out a relationship loophole: marrying their own kind.
As The Washington Post recently detailed, Priceonomics, a company that helps companies crawl and structure data from the web, analysed US Census data to see what professions are most likely to marry each other.
Farming, Fishing, and Forestry has the highest percentage of people marrying within the same industry at 25%, and among the top ten occupations more prone to mixing business with pleasure, two are in agriculture.
Agricultural workers, who help farmers maintain crops and livestock, marry others with the same job 27% of the time — and agricultural managers, such as farmers and ranchers, do so 20% of the time.
Dan Kopf, author of the Priceonomics analysis, notes the high rate of agriculture workers and managers comingling may be attributed to the less diverse mix of occupations available to people in rural communities compared to urban ones.
Jerry Miller, founder of niche dating site FarmersOnly.com, says it all comes down to lifestyle compatibility.
Miller tells Business Insider he founded the site for farmers to meet like-minded people after encountering a recently-divorced female farmer struggling to find someone new. The woman, Miller says, would get bites on traditional dating sites from “city guys,” but they would try to arrange dates at times incompatible with her busy farming schedule.
Many farmers Miller has talked to, he says, work seven days a week, 365 days a year. “How many people in regular business could relate to that?” he asks.
In 2005, with the tagline “City Folks Just Don’t Get It!” Miller created the online dating site specifically catered to people who understand the rural farmer lifestyle, and in the ten years since more than 4 million people have signed up on the site.
In general, Dr. Mike McNulty, a Master Certified Gottman Therapist and relationship expert, notes the list isn’t too surprising, considering most of these occupations likely share atypical hours and intense demands and responsibilities.
“Each occupation has a distinct way of life that goes with it,” McNulty says. “They all involve long hours, at least during certain seasons of the year, that may result in an inability to participate in the mainstream social activities of one’s peers.”
This may make it difficult for people in these occupations to meet others outside of work.
“It may feel more workable to marry someone who shares the same kind of schedule, rather than having to constantly explain the demands of one’s position to a partner or spouse who works in a different profession,” McNulty says. “The fact that partners hold the same type of position may mean that they can relate to each other’s compassion for work or the challenges one another face.”
While there are lots of benefits for spouses who share the same way of life, McNulty cautions anyone looking for a spouse with the same job about the pitfalls.
“Even when they do have the same job, they still will have individual differences, which will result in those all too common perpetual problems that come with being married,” he explains. “Partners must learn to manage such problems over time, through understanding and compromise and putting their relationship first. If partners enter into marriage believing their shared way of life makes them exempt from conflict, they will be in for a big surprise.”
It’s worth noting that the Census Bureau tracks 500 professions, and data on same-sex marriages was not available for this analysis.
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