(Ed note: A similar map appeared in National Geographic within the last two years. The author, Richard Florida, has also commented on Washington, DC’s urban environment, see map exhibit b. Thanks Autumn!)
Which cities have a surplus of single men (or women) – and what that means for the country.
By Richard Florida
March 30, 2008
WHICH OF THESE two decisions do you think has a bigger impact on someone’s life: finding the right job, or finding the right significant other? No one’s going to argue with the notion that where you live affects your employment prospects. But the place you call home has a lot to do with your chances of finding the right partner as well. Having an enticing “mating market” matters as much or more than a vibrant labor market.
It’s not just that some places have more singles than others. If you’re a single man or a single woman the odds of meeting that special someone vary dramatically across the country.
By far, the best places for single men are the large cities and metro areas of the East Coast and Midwest. The extreme is greater New York, where single women outnumber single men by more than 210,000. In the Philadelphia area and greater Washington, D.C., single women outnumber single men by 50,000. I met my wife outside Detroit, where the odds were greatly stacked in my favor – single women outnumber single men by some 20,000 there.
In fact, single women outnumber single men in many large cities around the world, even though men outearn women at all ages, according to Lena C. Edlund, a Columbia University economist. One reason young women in the prime marriage years – the 25-44 age range – flock to big cities is to compete for the most eligible men. And smart women who gravitate to vibrant cities are more likely to stay single – for longer, at least – because they rightly refuse to settle for someone who can’t keep up with them intellectually or otherwise.
But women do have an advantage in the American West and Southwest. In greater Los Angeles, for example, there are 90,000 more single men than women. In Phoenix and the San Francisco Bay Area, single men outnumber single women by roughly 65,000. There are considerably more single men than women in San Diego, Dallas, and Seattle, too. Each of these regions has grown substantially over the past two or three decades, offering jobs in everything from high tech to construction and services. As numerous studies of migration show, men – especially those in regions with declining economies – are initially more likely to move long distances for economic opportunity, while women are more likely to stay closer to home and family.