Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles

Singletude is a positive, supportive singles blog about life choices for the new single majority. It's about dating and relationships, yes, but it's also about the other 90% of your life--family, friends, career, hobbies--and flying solo and sane in this crazy, coupled world. Singletude isn't about denying loneliness. It's about realizing that whether you're single by choice or by circumstance, this single life is your life to live.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Forbes Best Cities for Singles, 2008

I'm late to the game on this one, folks, but on September 4, 2008, Forbes announced its annual rankings of the most singles-friendly American cities. This year, Atlanta tops the list, bumping last year's champ, San Francisco, to second best, while Dallas takes home the bronze.

The cities were rated on six factors--number of singles, culture, nightlife, job growth, cost of living, and online dating activity. Atlanta's solid scores on job growth and nightlife propelled it to first place. Although San Francisco scored poorly on job growth and cost of living, it held onto second because it houses more singles than any other U.S. city (a whopping 30% of its residents are unmarried) and has a thriving cultural scene. Last year's runner-up, New York, dropped to eighth in view of its inflated cost of living, stalled job growth, and stagnant online dating scene. Dallas, on the other hand, saw a meteoric rise from ninth to third due to its affordability, job growth, and hot nightlife, even as former third-place finisher, Los Angeles, plummeted to sixteenth, following New York's downward trajectory for the same reasons. Rounding out the top 10 were Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Boston, New York, Orlando, and Phoenix. The worst city for singles was Jacksonville, sitting dead last in fortieth place.

Cities boasting a claim to number one in any category included the aforementioned San Fran for most singles, L.A. for richest culture, NYC for hippest nightlife, Austin for fastest job growth, San Antonio for most affordable cost of living, and Charlotte for most happening online dating scene. Their counterparts languishing at the bottom of the ladder were Tampa-St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, Charlotte (a city of extremes, apparently), Milwaukee, New York (another city of extremes), and Memphis. To see a complete list of cities and how they fared among singles, click here.

A cursory glance at these results suggests that Texas is muy caliente, which should come as no surprise to those who are used to its blistering summers. The Southeast, however, is a mixed bag, and the Rust Belt and Midwest aren't exactly singles meccas.

Of course, not everyone will agree with some of the measures used to draw these conclusions. For instance, the nightlife rating was determined by calculating the total restaurants, bars, and nightclubs per person. However, a report on the quantity of eateries in a metro area says nothing of their quality or attractiveness to the single population. As another example, only data from Match.com was used to assess each city's online dating culture, a measurement which excludes many other online dating heavyweights. For a more detailed explanation of the scoring system, read this.

Still, the Forbes study, fast becoming the definitive ranking system for singles searching for a change of pace via a change of place, provides valuable data that not only reveals which cities are home to the most singles but how each city serves its singles. So if you like to hit the bars on the weekend, you may want to pack your bags for New York, whereas if you intend to circulate online, Charlotte might be more your speed. Wherever you hang your hat, though, take your positive singletude with you!


Do you live in or near any of the cities on the Forbes Best Cities for Singles list? If so, how do you think your city stacks up? Do you think the measures used for this study can provide valid conclusions about which cities are best for singles? If not, what measures would you use?


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5 comments:

Yoruame said...

I live in Tampa, no wonder I can't find someone single.

Jenn said...

Forbes apparently defines single as 'never been married' so anyone who is gay is de facto single. Should be interesting to see if San Francisco's ranking drops now that California allows gay marriage (assuming Prop 8 doesn't pass in November)!

Victoria Gothic said...

Lucky me Atlanta. I live about 30 minutes out of the city, and it just depends on where you want to go. Mostly I like Little 5 Points, with all their vinyl and head shops, and the street punks and bartering stores. Its some fun stuff.

Cat said...

I posted about this a while back and find this poll to be whack. It needs to be a little more specific- for example seperate hetrosexual from homosexual. Also a city with the most singles doesn't mean the best place to be, just that there are a lot of commitmitphobes in that area. I wanna move where the marrying folks are!

Clever Elsie said...

Yoruame: Florida does seem to be a mixed bag for singles this year. Tampa has room for improvement, true. But Orlando cracked the top 10, and Miami came in a respectable thirteenth. Hmmm...Maybe a move is in order? :)

Jenn: That's a great point! :) A few other critics of the Forbes list have noted that this year's number one, Atlanta, also is home to many in the GLBT community. And, of course, these stats are always deceiving because plenty of straight people are also involved in serious, cohabiting relationships even though they're legally single.

Victoria: Thanks for the "Hotlanta" insider's perspective! :) So would you agree with Forbes that Atlanta attracts a thriving singles crowd?

Cat: I think you and Jenn both hit the nail on the head: In cities with large gay populations in states that don't allow gay marriage, the data on singles is going to be skewed! I also read a couple of Forbes critics echoing your point about commitmentphobes. One of them (unfortunately, I can't remember who) put it so eloquently when he or she said, to paraphrase, "It's not clear whether these are the best cities for singles who want to meet other singles or for singles who want to stay that way." :)