September 27, 2011

In Defense of New York City Singles

Dear Statistics,
Please stop picking on my friends. I see articles like this with headlines boasting New York Leads the Nation in Single Ladies! all the time. My friends are starting to believe what I once believed while living in the city - "I'm never gonna get married."
Sure, the other reaction could be, "That's WHY I live here because I don't WANT to get married." But really, do we need to keep throwing these numbers around over and over again and pulling whatever we want from them? What good is this doing?
If we're going to look at you, I want to start seeing ALL of your numbers. Let us know what people are really dealing with before making it sound like we're all crazy.

So here's the deal.
According to the latest stats, apparently 41.7% of New York City women (over the age of 15) are single and 46.7% of the men (and boys over 15) are still single. Which ranks New York women as the leading single-lady-city in the nation. Some people hear this statistic and start blaring Beyonce while doing the "Single Ladies" dance. Others put on their pajamas and eat bon-bons.

Maybe NYC gals stay single because they have a lot of options, since there are SO MANY single guys to choose from.
I know, I know.
"HOW can you say that??" you ask. "Don't OTHER statistics say that there's only one single guy for every FIVE single gals in New York? Doesn't everyone say this is the WORST city for dating?"

Oh goodness. You're making me go look at the 2010 Census now, aren't you?

Okay, so I've spent the last few hours staring at the numbers and analyzing them a bit. In the midst of my research, I found a few lil' interesting tidbits.

First: The 2010 Census shows that the population of New York City's five boroughs is 8,175,133. This does not include the 44 million annual visitors.

Second: According to other number crunchers, there's an annual revolving door of 250,000 NYC residents. That means a quarter of a million NEW people in the city (and another 250,000 who have left).

Third: In Manhattan alone, there are 1,585,873 residents. (You can find the full charts here)
744,441 are men (46.9%) and 841,432 (53.1%) are women. When we look at ages, boys outnumber girls up until they're 18 years old. Then the girls outnumber the boys for 20 years or so. Then men dominate again at 38 until giving it back to women at 48.

Let's focus on just Manhattan for a minute. (If you want to double-check my math or see the other numbers, here's the Census page. You can also go there to search for similar results in other cities.)
According to that page, it says that, among males 15 years of age and older, 53.3% are single. And for women, 48.7% are single.
With a quick glance, we might be fooled, thinking there are actually WAY more single guys than gals. But these figures don't show us the hard numbers. So what does all this really mean? How many single guys and gals are there really in Manhattan?

Here's a chart I made that might help break it down.
From the numbers, we see that single Manhattan females between the ages of 20 and 34 outnumber single males by 20,000 or so (just a little higher than the number of people who live on Roosevelt Island). By the time men and women turn 35, the ratio switches again, with single men outnumbering single women. (Remember, these numbers don't reflect those who are in committed but unmarried relationships and include those who are gay.)

Now that we've taken a hard look at the numbers, what does this make you think about dating in New York? Do the numbers even have any impact on what you already thought?

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