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April 05, 2007

Hot Singles For YoU!

I love Mark Thoma's description of this graphic showing the gender breakdown of singles across the nation as "like a 7th grade dance with the boys huddled together on one side of the room, the girls on the other with a few mixtures scattered about." For whatever reason, single males seem clustered on the West Coast, while the East Coast -- particularly New York -- has an excess of female singles. On the other hand, I think the graph overstates itself, as we're dealing, even in most of the big dots (save NY), with a 40,000 person imbalance one way or the other. That's just not that large on the scale of a population. Moreover, the data lacks any obvious fine-tuning. If the East Coast is notably heavy on retirees, it'll end up with more single women simply because women live longer than men. If the data is constrained by age, though, you're probably seeing an imbalance in industries -- various professions in the West attract men (software design, the military) while many in the East are heavier on women. I can't figure out offhand what industries on the East would be attracting women and not men, though.

April 5, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Fashion and the federal government, just to name two that are heavily female.

Posted by: dmh | Apr 5, 2007 9:45:39 AM

You'd think one could just move to NY where all the women are and you'd be rollin' in it, and you would. Problem is, a lot of the women on the East coast are just so bitchy that you start asking yourself if it's really worth it.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 5, 2007 9:49:49 AM

Is the Fed really female heavy? I didn't know that.

Posted by: Ezra | Apr 5, 2007 9:54:45 AM

Fred, keep in mind that they move to the east coast from other places. In my experience in NYC, for example, there are basically a lot of women who've come there from places like the medwest and new england. But then, maybe those are the people you're complaining about.

What industries are on the east coast that seem to attract women? Publishing, the arts, fashion, and the non-profit sector.

Posted by: Constantine | Apr 5, 2007 9:56:56 AM

I can't figure out offhand what industries on the East would be attracting women and not men, though.

I think the question has to be asked the other way: what factors in the east would tend to make men leave. My guess is many of the larger metro areas in the north and east tend to be net exporters of native-born people (DC is surely the exception, but, percentage-wise, most of the growth is south of the Potomac). Well, I suspect men tend to be slightly more inclined to mobility than women. Also, one factor for California's imbalance the other way could be immigration. If immigrants -- especially those here illegally -- tend to be male, this will likely nudge the West Coast's numbers in the opposite direction from the Northeast's. If this weren't the case, I rather think California's numbers would more closely resemble those of the Northeast, because both places tend to have a lot of high-cost-of-living-induced native born emmigration.

Posted by: Jasper | Apr 5, 2007 10:01:08 AM

There are probably a lot of factors-- urban areas tend to be good places for single women, both in terms of job availability and more mundane issues like public transportation, neighbors within earshot, etc. Speaking for myself, I sometimes regret not having moved northeast even given the demographic imbalance, simply because the men are more generally appealing to me than southerners... my three broad [and possibly previously-stated] dealbreakers are Republicans, smokers, and men who think I should actually give a rat's ass about sports, all of which are too heavily represented in this part of the country. So my effective dating pool-- defined by my own standards-- here is actually a lot smaller than it would probably be in heavily urban areas, even allowing that in an environment with more single women I'd have relatively fewer men interested in me. At worst it'd probably be a wash.

Anyway, I wouldn't be at all surprised if a lot of women migrating to the northeast were at least partly motivated by a certain lack of interest in the men from their native regions.

Posted by: latts | Apr 5, 2007 10:27:22 AM

the East Coast -- particularly New York -- has an excess of female singles.

Back in my single days, I seem to remember there being an excess of single men in NJ while NYC had an excess of single women. But who'd want to take an hour train-ride into NYC to go to some meat market mixer. And no NYC girl in her right mind would deign to visit NJ -- she'd rather be celebate, and who can blame her?

Fortunately, I met an NYC girl who did deign to visit NJ for a singles event in NJ. But in general, most of the singles events in NJ were very heavily male. So NYC ladies -- you don't have to go all the way out west to meet a guy: you can just go to NJ. The odds are good. But let me warn ya -- the goods are odd!

*

Where I went to a certain school on the West Coast with which our fair host might be familiar due to a family connection, there was definitely an excess of un-attached men over un-attached women. Many women were in long-distance relationships with guys they knew from High School and/or short distance relationships with guys working in the family business and going to Community College at night -- the school attracted a lot of daughters of immigrants whose parents sent their daughters to school to find a good marriage catch ... but they kept their sons at home to work on the family business. So what would happen is that the kids, dating within their ethnic group, would be dating people not going to my university, even if they were pretty much sent to university to get a husband -- but these sorts of things always do backfire. And woe be to all the Nice Guys(TM), like myself, who weren't getting dates ...

Posted by: DAS | Apr 5, 2007 10:36:25 AM

One of us is reading this graph wrong, cause it looks to me like New York et al have 185000 more women than men. That's what, 1% of the region's population? Seems pretty big for the marginal single.

Posted by: ptm | Apr 5, 2007 10:41:10 AM

This is actually why I moved back to New York when I became single, and it worked.

I can't imagine what reasons smart New York women might have for being bitchy to Fred.

Posted by: Antid Oto | Apr 5, 2007 10:44:09 AM

It looks like the single women are trying to go west but are getting stuck at at the Mississippi.

Posted by: apm | Apr 5, 2007 10:57:54 AM

"It looks like the single women are trying to go west but are getting stuck at at the Mississippi."

Better than getting stuck in Mississippi.

Posted by: ptm | Apr 5, 2007 11:08:38 AM

Better than getting stuck in Mississippi.

No kidding.

Posted by: latts | Apr 5, 2007 11:31:16 AM

I need to get out of Austin.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Apr 5, 2007 12:16:35 PM

A quick anecdote -- I have 2 single cousins in their early 20s. The boy is in Wisconsin, the girl is in DC. He's there for work, she's there for grad school. I chatted with her about the dating scene this week and she said that her school is overwhelmingly female, so that's cramping her dating a bit. Since her field is public health, that should be no surprise.

I'm trying really hard not to play yenta and e-mail her Friendster profile to Ezra. :) I did show her his blog though.

Posted by: fiat lux | Apr 5, 2007 12:36:07 PM

Do you think the sexual imbalance of college attendees would skew the numbers in the northeast?

Posted by: joe dokes | Apr 5, 2007 12:53:51 PM

I need to get out of Austin.

Austin is a perfect match for you.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 5, 2007 1:17:54 PM

Yeah I can't imagine why a guy who describes being around lots of women as "rolling in it" (what is "it", perchance?) would have any trouble appealing to women. Just can't imagine.

Posted by: emjaybee | Apr 5, 2007 1:42:21 PM

I just moved from LA to New York. Yay.

Posted by: benny | Apr 5, 2007 2:12:47 PM

"I need to get out of Austin."

Everyone always says they need to get out of Austin -- they're too hip to be in the hipster place, its gotten so, oh you know, hipsterish.

Funny though, no one ever actually seems to leave.

Posted by: RW | Apr 5, 2007 2:59:09 PM

Everyone always says they need to get out of Austin -- they're too hip to be in the hipster place, its gotten so, oh you know, hipsterish.

Funny though, no one ever actually seems to leave. - RW

The song "Hotel California" was really about Austin, with the place name being changed?

Posted by: DAS | Apr 5, 2007 3:07:47 PM

Just to follow up on potential industries: in addition to fashion, I'd point out publishing and marketing are actually heavily female. Also probably the health professions, where I think more traditional expectations in the northeast keep nursing, and other affiliated professions (OT, PT ect) heavily female. Also, higher education, maybe?

I'd also point out the gender imbalance is only the tip of a bigger iceberg for single women in the northeast, when many urban single men are also gay. That 40,000 would only barely scratch the surface of the problem in New York (except maybe, for the gay guys). ;)

Posted by: weboy | Apr 5, 2007 3:25:35 PM

I'm with Fred, unfortunately. East coast women are, in my experience, snooty, uptight, and just generally too good for everyone.

I think this may be related to two "east coast occupations" that everyone's been overlooking that generally over-attracts women, at least in New York: modelling and acting. Make that three: professional daddy's girl is also a popular career.

To be fair, I've heard from women that west coast men can tend to be quite vain & dim compared with east coast guys, so...

Anyhoo.

Posted by: Adam | Apr 5, 2007 3:27:02 PM

"The song "Hotel California" was really about Austin, with the place name being changed"

Right, the Eagles convered it from Ray Wylie Hubbard (or insert generic alt-country-genero-singer-songwriter-three-named-Austin-music-icon-of-your choosing)

Posted by: RW | Apr 5, 2007 3:31:55 PM

my three broad [and possibly previously-stated] dealbreakers are Republicans, smokers, and men who think I should actually give a rat's ass about sports

Look, you don't have to care about my sports, you just have to not bug me while I'm watching them. That's all I ask.

Posted by: Seitz | Apr 5, 2007 4:03:47 PM

Well, let's do some finger math... Wikipedia tells me that the LA metro area has a population of 13 million. Drop off a quarter for children (who, without the autonomy to move, are probably evenly distributed) and roughly half for married people and you end up with 3.25 million adult singles, a priori about 1.62 million of each gender. 40 thousand more one way or another is about a 2.2% mismatch; depending on your model of the dating market that could have a pretty substantial effect.

My guess is that the market for spouses is probably not at all commoditized, but that the casual space is likely to see larger dislocation...

Posted by: dennis | Apr 5, 2007 5:11:10 PM

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