Census Bureau: Men Have a Huge Numerical Dating Advantage, But There’s a Catch

Who has the advantage in finding a partner in the US, men or women?

A new analysis by the Census Bureau–released in an amusingly titled blog post with the headline “All the Single Ladies”–reveals some interesting data.

It turns out that overall, men have a big advantage in the dating and marriage scene. But when you break the data down further, there’s an important catch.

1. The Current Landscape

“The odds of finding a potential mate in the United States were in men’s favor in 2019,” the Census Bureau says.

Specifically, for every 100 unmarried women, there were 89.8 unmarried men.

This data encompasses individuals aged 18 and over who have never been married, are divorced, or are widowed.

That might be true on average. But it’s not the whole story!

2. Age Matters

When broken down by age groups, the data presents some fascinating patterns:

  • The 30-to-34 age group had the highest ratio of unmarried men to women, with approximately 121 men for every 100 women.
  • This can be attributed to men generally marrying later than women. The median age for men’s first marriage stands at 30.1, while for women, it’s 28.2.
  • Conversely, for those aged 55 and over, there are roughly 57 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women. This discrepancy can be credited to women having a longer life expectancy than men.

3. Geographic Disparities

The marital landscape varies considerably across states:

  • In Washington, D.C., the ratio is skewed with 80 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women.
  • Alaska paints a contrasting picture with 117 available men for every 100 women.

What Does it All Mean?

If you’re a young man looking for love, the odds are stacked against you! Again, in the 30-34 year age range, there were 1.21 men pursuing every available woman.

As people age, though, the ratio flips–and dramatically! For men over 55 years old, the data get pretty close to the “Surf City” ratio of “two girls for every guy.” To get numerical, there are .57 men pursuing each female.

Geography matters, too. Bachelors in DC are in luck, but if you live in Alaska, it’s tougher going.

So if you’re young and finding dating challenging, blame the numbers! And wait a few decades–your odds will improve a lot.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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