In 1976, 37 percent of the U.S. population was single. Now, in 2014, it’s over 50 percent. I wrote once before about the best places to live if you’re single — Colorado Springs is apparently pretty good — and it should be noted that some of this data is skewed, because single people do tend to live around college towns (as you’ll see below). That’s partially going to college and staying in the area for a few years, and it’s partially just the vibe/ethos of college towns. It might be a cart-horse situation; I’m not sure.
Anyway, here’s some new data on it all via CityLab. Let’s check out a couple of charts, shall we?
This is the top 10 and bottom 10 for states in terms of “share single;” a little bit surprised that Louisiana is No. 1 — and that Mississippi is in the top 10 as well — because you often have this image of the South as “family and getting married quickly,” you know? Maybe that image is misguided:
Here’s top and bottom 10 for cities/metro areas. Note that basically the entire top 10 is college towns, as I noted above — and note that the entire bottom five is places in Utah and Idaho. Utah is super young — the youngest state! — but apparently it’s not young and single, which makes sense in terms of how people tend to think about Mormons (get married early, have a lot of children):
Here’s large metros in terms of share single:
Miami and New York resonate with me here — my wife is from Miami, and I’m from New York. I can tell you that those cities have a high percentage of singles (which this data seems to show) and everyone in those cities is seemingly always bitching about how it’s so hard to find someone despite everyone seemingly being single. Very confusing places. Interesting that places on the bottom 10 including faster-growing Southern cities like Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Charlotte. You could read that as “it’s cheaper to live in those places, so people get married and move there.” (Could be true.) You could also read it as cultural. The interesting thing is that most of those areas don’t have great social mobility, so children being born to those non-single people might not be in ideal situations.
Again, there are ‘meh’ elements to this research in the sense of, well, college towns are obviously going to rate — and they do rate. But it’s still an interesting snapshot nonetheless.