Valentine’s Day is around the corner; a holiday that can be a hard time for any single person. Television is inundated with images of happy couples, and store aisles are stocked with heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and sappy greeting cards. If you can’t take the thought of spending another February 14th by your lonesome, perhaps it’s time to step out and try your luck in your local dating scene. Sure, it can be daunting, especially if it’s been a while since your last date, or your city or town isn’t exactly the optimal environment for finding a match.
In order to find out which U.S. cities are the best for dating, we’ve analyzed 102 of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States in a number of categories most relevant to starry-eyed hopefuls. Our ranking is based on:
- Safety (a score calculated using the latest FBI crime data and CDC STD infection rate statistics)
- Availability (based on the percentage of single women in a given city, which we consider a better indicator of dating opportunity than the percentage of single men or single people in general and taken from U.S. census data)
- Affordability (judged by comparing the average cost of a three-course meal for two at an inexpensive restaurant in each city from numbeo.com data)
- Density of nightlife options (based on a trulia.com blog post with a comprehensive list of the number of bars per 10,000 inhabitants in a large swath of U.S. cities)
Let’s take a look at the findings...
The Best Dating Scenes in the U.S.
1. San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California comes in at #1 due to a whopping 16.5 bars per 10K, more than any other city on the list, and a considerable 44.70% share of the female population being single, a higher ratio than any other. Despite its reputation as an extremely costly cityin which to live, represented here by the average restaurant meal price of $75, the second highest average price overall, the density of nightlife options and ubiquity of singles make San Fran’s dating scene an excellent one.
2. Reno, Nevada
You might be surprised by Reno, Nevada, coming in at #2 on the list. Famous for its hotels, casinos, and being sort of a mini-Las Vegas, Reno’s high ratio of single women, above-average safety and density of bars render the mid-sized city rife with opportunities for singles to find their match.
3. Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon places at #3. The Pacific Northwestern hipster mecca--known for its rainy weather, offbeat charm, scores of cafes and coffee shops, and being lampooned on IFC’s Portlandia sketch show—ranks high due to low crime and STD rates, affordable restaurant prices and high density of bars.
4. Omaha, Nebraska
Just behind Portland is Omaha, Nebraska, the largest city in the state. Omaha offers affordability and a good concentration of nightlife options, while boasting low crime numbers and STD rates.
5. Las Vegas, Nevada
Rounding out the top five is Las Vegas, scoring high due to its 12.8 bars per 10,000 inhabitants, inexpensive meal prices, and high % of single women. “Sin City” may get a little rowdy, and its reputation for encouraging vice of all forms may be off putting to some, but Vegas certainly has much opportunity for singles.
The rest of the top ten are Madison, Wisconsin (#6), a thriving college town with a high safety score and a ton of bars, New Orleans (#7), the famous culinary and cultural capital of Louisiana that makes up for its high crime and STD rates with a wealth of dining and drinking options and a high ratio of singles, Lincoln, Nebraska (#8), a clean, safe Midwestern city with affordable restaurant prices, Billings, Montana (#9), a mid-sized city surrounded by mountains with a very low cost of living and low crime rates, and Seattle, Washington (#10) with its many bars, high ratio of single women, and low crime rates. Seattle is brought down only by its relatively expensive dining and entertainment costs.
The Worst Dating Scenes in the U.S.
Other cities did not fare so well. The bottom five worst cities for dating earned their unimpressive positions for a number of reasons. Stockton, California (#98) ranks low due to a unimpressive ratio of single women, expensive restaurants, and a low density of nightlife options. Just below it is Anchorage, Alaska (#99), whose cardinal sins are high crime rates, high STD infection rates, and somewhat expensive dining out prices. Number 100 on the list is Wilmington, Delaware, a city that fails to impress in any category, with its rather high rate of violent crime being the most discouraging characteristic.
Next-to last-in the ranking is Little Rock, Arkansas, a city with a low % of singles, a scarcity of nightlife destinations, and a high rate of violent crime. Finally, coming at last, overall, is Memphis, Tennessee. The position is unfortunate considering the city’s well-earned reputation for being one of the most important cities for soul, the blues and rock n’ roll, yet the city’s grimly high rates of violent crime and STD infections are too much to compensate for.
Where did your city fall on the list? Do you agree or disagree with its placing? This ranking is meant to be fun and informative, but if your city ranks low among others, don’t let it discourage you: there’s always hope of finding the right partner no matter which part of the country you find yourself.
A closer look at the dating data...
|Rank||City||State||Population||Violent crimes per 1K||Adjusted STD Rate per 1K||% of Single Women||Price for Meal, $$||Bars per 10K|
|23||New York||New York||8,566,917||5.73||6.00||39.80%||77.5||9|
|61||Jersey City||New Jersey||266,179||4.79||6.00||32.30%||65||6.5|
|63||Washington||District of Columbia||681,170||11.32||3.91||36.20%||65||6.3|
|81||Salt Lake City||Utah||193,918||9.36||3.58||28.50%||50||4.8|
We created this ranking to assess how major metropolitan areas in the United States compare in a number of categories important to singles active in the dating scene. A total of 102 metropolitan areas were scrutinized: the top 100 largest cities in the U.S. by population according to the latest FBI crime statistics, along with additional cities added in order to ensure that each U.S. state was represented. A number of cities were excluded due to a significant lack of pertinent data. Several data sources were used, including FBI crime data, CDC STD rate data, U.S. census data, numbeo.com (for average meal prices) and a trulia.com blog post listing bars per 10,000 inhabitants in a large number of U.S. metropolitan areas. An overall ranking by dating scene score was calculated using a number of variables, including safety (violent crime rates & STD infection rates), availability (% of single women), affordability (average price of a dinner for two at an inexpensive restaurant) and nightlife options (bars per 10,000).