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Economy

The Cities With the Most Singles

Where you live can have a big impact on your Valentine’s Day by changing the odds of meeting potential mates.
A newly married couple kiss on the Empire State Building after their Valentine's Day wedding in New York City, where there are 200,000 more single women than men.
A newly married couple kiss on the Empire State Building after their Valentine's Day wedding in New York City, where there are 200,000 more single women than men.Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Cities are not just labor markets: They’re mating markets. Single people don’t just move to cities for jobs or amenities, but for access to potential mates. Back in 2007, National Geographic published its infamous “Singles Map,” which showed which cities and metros had more single men or single women. It did so with a broad brush, looking at all singles ages 20 to 64. But women outlive men and the odds can shift in favor over time. More than a decade later, has the singles scene—and the odds of meeting that special someone—changed?

With the help of my colleague Karen King, a demographer at the University of Toronto’s School of Cities, we crunched the numbers for metros where men outnumber women and where women outnumber men, based on data from the 2017 American Community Survey. We looked into more than 380 metros and examined single adults—including those who have never been married, and those who are divorced, separated, or widowed. We looked at the broad ratio of single men to women for singles between 20 and 64 years of age. (We stopped at age 64 because the fact that women outlive men would badly skew the ratios.) Finally, we looked at ratios for three age groups: 20 to 34 years old, 35 to 44 years old, and 45 to 64 years old.