Dating is a Numbers Game

September 21, 2016

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Looking for love in all the right places can be daunting so when I came across a “dating” article in Fast Company by Jon Birger I was intrigued. I soon found that this was an excerpt from his book, Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game that was published by Workman in 2015. I immediately headed off to the library to get a copy.

  • In his article, Birger says, “When they graduate, college seniors get deluged with grown-up advice. Well, I have my own advice and it’s two words: sex ratios. Hear me out. Young people should consider sex ratios before accepting their first job. Let’s look at the numbers.
  • Women outnumber men when it comes to higher education. In 2016, 33% more women than men graduated from four-year colleges (or four women for every three men). In 1971, it was four men for every three women.
  • These uneven numbers spill over into the post-college dating market. In 2012 there were 5.5 million college-educated women in the U.S. between the ages of 22 and 29 vs. 4.1 million men.
  • Sex ratios do vary, however, from state-to-state and city-to-city, and this is why grads may want to include such data in their first-job checklists. For example, Manhattan has 39% more women than men among college grads age 22 to 29.

In July I received an email saying that my reserved book was in the library and ready to be picked up. The author, a graduate of Brown who lives with his family in Larchmont, New York – has a lot to say. Here’s a random sampling.

  • According to Census data, the number of age 30-to-34, college-educated women who have never been married rose from 865,083 in 2007 to 1,133,956 in 2012 – a 31% increase. Why? Modern women are more focused on careers and less interested in traditional relationships is one facet of this statistic.
  • Birger compares the New York City dating market to that of Santa Clara County, California, home to Silicon Valley and the locale with the highest male-to-female ratio for under-30 college grads of any well-populated area in the United States.
  • The marriage rate for college-educated women in Santa Clara County is abnormally high: 33% of the women age 22 to 29 are married vs. 31% nationally and 13% in Manhattan.
  • In order to test the idea that men and women behave differently in different relationship markets, the author visited the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. This school intrigued him because it is one of only a handful of major non-religious universities in the U.S. where men comprise a significant majority. Cal Tech’s gender ratio among undergrads is 59-to-41 men to women.
  • The author found this school is a perfect example of how dating behavior varies depending upon market conditions. The oversupply of males leads to a greater emphasis on courtship and romance. This same dating culture is also alive and well at equally brainy MIT.
  • “People don’t want to think of dating as a numbers game but it is,” says one female executive. For example, the Manhattan vs. Minneapolis marriage markets are night and day: 50% of educated Manhattan women age 30 to 39 have never been married vs. 32% in Minneapolis.

Shaun Nelson-Henrick

MAY WE SUGGEST…

September is the month for back-to-school so why not send your daughter or sister off with one or more of ADEA’s easy wear/easy care layering tops – a timely gift.

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