Here is a map.
Once upon a time there was a map of singles in major areas across the United States. "A quarter million extra single ladies in New York City!" it touted, "Hundreds of thousands of unattached men on the West Coast!" leaving in its wake:
- Every lady in NYC complaining about the statistical improbabilities of dating
- 50% of Californian males booking U-Hauls
- Me, congratulating myself on living in New York
Your odds actually weren't as good (or bad) as the map let on, though, because it was missing just that: odds. Take those 210k ladies and spread them over the entire NYC-New Jersey-Nothern PA area and what've you got? Answer: not that much! Your odds of meeting a single woman in the general population is 10% better in Ashville, NC. (But lest your souls despair, the West Coast is still definitely boytown.)
So, I made this map. Everything is now cut with the general population, so you'll now finally know where to move to give your heart the love it deserves — oh, unless you hit the spacebar. Then you'll see the original, absolute differences, which are fun despite being horribly misleading.
An age of ageism
I'm going to be honest, I'm not too into dating someone 40 years older than me. Overly selective, I know, but a common enough thought that we come to the second problem with the original map: It counted all singles between the ages of 20-64.
Let's not go into the reasons why that huge ol' range is silly. Let's go into what you can do about it: there's a slider up top. On the right. Slide it. This will change the age range of the single you're viewing. If you grab ahold of the little piece in the middle you can move a range back and forth, so if you're generally a +/- 5 years kind of dater you can set it up for 20-29 and swing it up and down the spectrum.
And just how do those odds adjust with age?
Just how those odds adjust with age
Ladies: After your mid 40's, you will be fighting tooth and nail for the nine or ten single men.
Gents: Single men become a rare commodity later in life, and we all know what happens then. They don't call it Perfectly Inelastic Supply for nothing!
Gals: Do single young girls exist? Not according to math! Fact: around 1/3 of 20-24 year old women are married. Only 70% are single!
Guys: Again, fact: Only 1/5 of men are married by age 24. 80% single! Like suburban deer, there are too many of you in relation to your prey, and you're destroying each others' game. Older, wiser deer who don't spend their time doing kegstands are snapping up your lady-foliage.
Cocktail party lines
Let's work on the facts that you'll use to wow these possible mates:
- Did you know that the only two places with a surplus of women in the 20-29 age bracket are New Orleans, LA and Springfield, MA? Lynchburg, VA pops up, too, if you lower the minimum required population.
- The switchover from extra men to extra women starts at 35-39 for most big East Coast cities, but doesn't hit New York until 40-44.
- Reno, NV is the main male holdout after the age of 45.
- Please be tricked into thinking that women are distributed across the Appalachian Trail. What are you ladies planning?
- With the surplus of unmarried young men and unmarried older women I hope someone will write a thesis called Social Adaptation and the Creation of the Cougar
Sure, there are some issues with the map. The first: homosexuality! This data and this map are completely heteronormative, but please direct invective at our pal the Census Bureau. Also, I don't think I can really trust the internet on this one, but men are about twice as likely to identify as gay than women - what's this mean for the map? It'll skew hard towards there being a ton of unmarried men! Those lonely young single guys might actually be in perfectly marriageable relationships, but prevented from tying a federal-government-approved knot.
Next: Population density! We're only using the US Census Bureau's Metropolitan Statistical Areas (and some Micropolitan ones, too), so we're missing out on the more rural aspect of America. What's this mean? I sure don't know the answer.
Oh, and I've heard people also date, they don't just get married. Totally not reflected mapwise.
Have some data!
To those of you interested in how things were calculated:
- Data courtesy US Census Bureau's 2006 American Community Survey, marital status by sex and age.
- Single is counted as being never married, divorced or widowed. Married is... married.
- The unadjusted figures are |single women - single men|, the adjusted figures are |single women - single men| / local population
- Built using Processing, which is a Java-based programming language + tools to do arty things.
- The map is from Ben Fry's Processing-centric book Visualizing Data, which is great. I've also got Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists, which is a little more reference-y but also useful.
- Quantity is related to the area of the circle, not the radius. When I finally realized that it was a seismic event!
- Geocoding via the ever-fantastic geocoder.ca
Who am I?
I'm Soma. I make things. I live in Brooklyn, but unfortunately the part where everyone's married, so I chalk this map up to Not Geographically Specific Enough. Disclaimer: Remember the time I got a D+ in statistics second year of college? I do! I have a site I never update at www.xoxosoma.com, and you can track me down at email@example.com. There's another project I did you might like called Tokyo Tuesday
Google ads make this page ugly, so if you want you want your actions to help my wallet, just use paypal. Give me two or three hundred dollars, I think it could be fun for the both of us.
If you'd like some images to blog about this with but hate taking screenshots, I set up this kit to make your life easier.