Best Cities to Find a Date for Valentine's Day

Dating on Valentine's Day
Dating on Valentine's Day

In Washington, D.C., women often complain about the lack of available men. On the other hand, "Man Jose" (which is San Jose, Calif., of course) gets that nickname for having too few available women for the men of Silicon Valley. But is it fact or fiction? In love, as with real estate, it's better to get the inside scoop before you start your search.

To figure out where the gender ratio is most skewed in each direction, we went right to the data. We know from our consumer survey about love and housing that not all singles are equally in demand, at least when it comes to dating. Among unmarried adults, 62 percent prefer to date someone who lives alone; only 14 percent prefer to date someone who lives with other people. Perhaps living alone sends the right signal about independence and availability -- or perhaps living alone just makes dating easier. (Does anyone really want to hear their mom ask, "Honey, can I make you and your friend some pancakes?")

Whatever the reason, we get it: So we looked at the ratio of men living alone to women living alone in order to assess the dating scene. We also subtracted estimates of the gay and lesbian population in order to focus on men and women interested in dating someone of the opposite sex. (Check out our Welcome to the Gayborhood post if that's news you can use.) Finally, we excluded people older than 65, since differences in life expectancy skew the gender ratio in the later years. (Just ask my grandfather, who was very popular in the Miami Beach coffee shop scene back in the day.) How did we do this? See the methodology at the end of this post.

Where the Boys Are

Women looking for single men should try their odds in Las Vegas, where the ratio of men living alone to women living alone is the highest among the 100 largest metros: 1.34. That's four men for every three women. San Jose, it turns out, also has plenty of men to choose from, with 1.23 men for every woman. Several warm spots -- Honolulu, Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla., and Miami -- also skew toward men (remember we're not including those 65+), as do some mid-size metros around the country, like Worcester, Mass., and Tacoma, Wash.

The most lopsided ratios, however, are not in these large metros. The ratio of men to women is above 2 in Williston, N.D., Gillette and Rock Springs, Wyo. Each of these smaller metros is the center of a male-dominated industry: Williston is at the heart of the North Dakota oil boom, and Gillette and Rock Springs are Wyoming mining towns. In fact, rural areas and smaller metros generally have a higher ratio of men to women.

All the Single Ladies

Women outnumber men in the big three power centers of the Northeast: Washington, D.C., Boston and New York. The ratio is highest in the Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Md., metro, which is just over the Maryland border from Washington, D.C. Nine of the 10 metros with the highest ratio of women to men are in the East: Oakland is the only exception.

The ratio of women to men tends to be highest in larger metros. None of the smaller metros are skewed toward women nearly as much as Williston, N.D., is skewed toward men, but Napa, Calif., and Santa Fe, N.M., are two of the small metros with the highest ratio of women to men.

Uptown Girl, East End Boys

Billy Joel and the Pet Shop Boys -- who otherwise couldn't be more different -- were both onto something. Billy Joel's New York City had an uptown girl and a downtown man; the Pet Shop Boys sang of London's West End girls and East End boys. The data back them up. In every big metro, there are neighborhoods where men outnumber women and neighborhoods where women outnumber men, as these maps make clear:

In New York, Lower Manhattan and parts of Queens, including Long Island City, have more men living alone than women living alone. But the Upper East Side ZIP Code of 10021 has almost two women living alone for every man who lives alone. In Los Angeles, men outnumber women across the downtown area, but women outnumber men across much of the West Side. Farther west, along the coast, men outnumber women in El Segundo, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach.

Jed Kolko is the chief economist for online listings site Trulia. This article originally appeared on the Trulia Trends blog.

See also:
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Homes for Sale for $400,000: What You Can Get for the Money

Neighborhood Hunting Made Easy

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