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Best Cities for Singles

Feb. 4, 2013
Personal Finance
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It’s almost Valentine’s Day, the holiday of romance.  While couples everywhere are celebrating their relationships, singles are searching, with varying levels of effort, for their own potential dates.  If you’re on the prowl for a Valentine’s Day date, the problem might be your location, not you.

NerdWallet crunched the numbers to find the best cities for single heterosexual men and women based on three questions:

1. Are the odds in your favor? We examined the ratio of unmarried men to unmarried women.  More available women than men is better for single men, and a city with more available men than women is better for single women.

2. Is it easy to meet people? People meet at bars, gyms and while hanging out outside.  We calculated the number of bars and gyms per 1,000 residents and we looked at the Walk Score, which measures how walkable a city is.  If you’re living in a city filled with shops and restaurants and bars, it is likely easier to meet people than if you live in a small suburban town where driving is always required.

3. Can you afford to date?  We calculated the cost of a cheap date: a movie ticket, 12-inch Pizza Hut pizza and 6-pack of Heineken.  We also incorporated the unemployment rate of the city in the calculation to maximize the chances that you and your date are both employed.  No scrubs!

For more information, check out our Cost of Living Calculator and City Life tool.

Best cities for single women

1.     San Francisco, CA

With a whopping 116.2 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women, San Francisco makes it easy to meet guys.  The large amount of gyms and bars and highly walkable city layout make it easy to meet people, and although dates are on the pricey side, the unemployment rate is lower than most big cities.  Plus, the city is known for its delicious food, so you can explore San Francisco’s restaurant scene on your dates.

 2.     Seattle, WA

With its large amount of bars and gyms, it’s clear that Seattle is a city of fit beer-drinkers.  The city is very walkable, and the ratio of men to women works in your favor, ladies.  Dates are quite pricey because the cost of living is fairly high here.  Settle in for some cozy coffee dates in the home of some of the nation’s best coffee shops.

3.     San Diego, CA

Among singles, San Diego has a whopping ratio of almost 5 unmarried men for every 4 unmarried women.  Although the number of bars and gyms, unemployment rate, Walk Score and date costs are all around average, the ratio alone makes the city friendly to single ladies.  Plus, the city is full of fun things to do—you can enjoy the gorgeous beaches, head to the zoo or go hiking.

4.     Denver, CO

Denver’s ratio of men to women is close to even, but still slightly in favor of women.  The city has a ton of bars and gyms, and the layout is fairly walkable.  Dates are on the cheap side here, and unemployment is moderate, making it a great city for single women.  Outdoorsy dates are common here, and you can always plan a romantic weekend getaway to the mountains.

 5.     Austin, TX

Austin, Texas has a high ratio of unmarried men to unmarried women—almost 6 to 5.  The city has many bars and gyms, and although it’s not particularly walkable, the unemployment rate is very low, making it overall an excellent city for single women.  With its thriving music scene, Austin’s great social life makes the city extremely date-friendly.

For the full top-ten list, check out Best Cities for Single Women.

Rank City Number of unmarried men per 100 unmarried women Number of bars and gyms per 1,000 residents Walk Score Cost of a date Unemployment rate Overall score for women
1 San Francisco 116.2 1.11 85 $28.39 8.6% 76.7
2 Seattle 112.4 1.49 74 $29.21 7.5% 74.9
3 San Diego 124.5 0.78 56 $27.67 10.0% 70.2
4 Denver 106.7 1.51 60 $26.79 9.1% 66.9
5 Austin 119.6 0.78 47 $28.22 6.2% 66.4

Best cities for single men

1.     Boston, MA

Unmarried women outnumber unmarried men in Boston, and the walkable layout and variety of bars and gyms are conducive to dating as well.  Dates are a little pricier here, but the low unemployment rates makes it likely you’ll both be able to afford it.  There are plenty of date options, including Red Sox games, walking the Freedom Trail and dinner in the North End.

2.     Baltimore, MD

With a great ratio of unmarried men to women for single males, Baltimore comes in at the number two spot.  The city also has many bars and gyms and an average unemployment rate.  And if you like seafood and crab cakes, you’ll have plenty of restaurant options for dates.

3.     Washington, DC

Washington has about 10 unmarried women for every 9 unmarried men.  Add these odds to the walkability of the city and the large number of bars and gyms, and you’ve got a great place to be a single guy.

4.     Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia is highly walkable with a moderate cost of living and more unmarried women than unmarried men.  Philadelphia has a rich arts culture (not to mention its delicious cheesesteak), so you can explore music and museums on your dates.

5.     Denver, CO

Although Denver has more unmarried men than unmarried women, the city makes up for this skewed ratio with a low unemployment rate, low cost of living and large number of bars and gyms per capita.  Denver is full of nature-lovers, so there are plenty of date options for outdoorsy people, such as nearby hiking and skiing in the mountains.

For the full top-ten list, check out Best Cities for Single Men.

Rank City Number of unmarried men per 100 unmarried women Number of bars and gyms per 1,000 residents Walk Score Cost of a date Unemployment rate Overall score for men
1 Boston 93 1.31 79 $27.79 7.1% 87.3
2 Baltimore 90.8 1.22 64 $27.14 10.5% 80.4
3 Washington 91.3 1.05 73 $27.65 10.2% 80.1
4 Philadelphia 95.1 0.82 74 $28.71 10.8% 71.4
5 Denver 106.7 1.51 60 $26.79 9.1% 70.1


The overall scores for women and men were derived from the following measures:

  1. Number of unmarried men per 100 unmarried women (ages 15 to 44) from the U.S. Census
  2. Number of bars and gyms per 1,000 residents from the yellow pages
  3. Walk Score
  4. Cost of a date (including a 12-inch Pizza Hut pizza, movie ticket and 6-pack of Heineken) from the ACCRA cost of living index
  5. Unemployment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

The number of unmarried men per 100 unmarried women was weighted twice as much as the other measures because the overall score was comprised of three equal categories: odds of meeting someone of the opposite gender, ease of meeting people and affordability.

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