By John Clark
Before a recent oil boom, Borger, Texas, a modest-sized town in the Texas Panhandle, had a relatively unremarkable rate of divorce.
But a complex mix of factors have caused this sleepy town to experience the most dramatic rise in divorce in the United States for the last five years, according to a Bloomberg News report.
Sources say the percentage of adults filing for divorce in Borger, Texas, has doubled since 2007, according to statistics provided by the latest U.S. Census.
And while Borger’s marital troubles mirror a similar trend in the rest of the country, where 66 percent of American cities have seen a rise in the number of divorced adults since 2007, its divorce outbreak has been more substantial than any other city.
According to sources, 15.2 percent of adults in Borger have experienced a divorce, which is well above the national average of 10.9 percent.
Several factors have reportedly contributed to Borger’s booming divorce industry. First, a collapse in the price of agricultural goods has created a great deal of tension in a town that has historically relied on income from farming.
The farming collapse was caused by a record drought in 2011, which was the worst dry spell in the history of Texas, as well as a sinking economy.
The combination of the sinking economy and lowered farm revenues has created “a lot of anxiety,” according to one divorce law attorney interviewed by Bloomberg News, which often causes everyday life to get “really miserable at home.”
But the failure of agricultural isn’t the only economic factor that has helped inflate Borger’s divorce rate. A rise in the town’s energy industry has been equally culpable, according to local sources.
While Borger has seen a dramatic rise in the number of energy-related jobs, especially for its massive oil refinery, these jobs have “erratic” work schedules, which can lead to further disputes between married couples.
Moreover, sources note that the energy workers tend to have high rates of drug use, which has been another contributing factor in the dissolution of marriages in Borger.
Sadly, the economic uncertainty has helped boost the amount of violent crime in Borger, which had the seventh-highest rate of violent crime in Texas last year.
Last year, Borger suffered 89 violent crimes per 10,000 people, which is more than twice the rate of larger Texas cities like El Paso and Austin.
So while divorce is increasing at a rapid rate in this Texas town, the residents of Borger certainly have more pressing problems to address.