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Dating Stats You Should Know


Let these facts and figures give you some great lucky-in-love ideas—including where to go to meet people and how to wow them.

by Meredith Broussard

ave you ever looked at the person you love and wondered, "What were the odds of us meeting and winding up head over heels?" I did the other day, and because I wondered it out loud—and because the person I love is a social scientist—he immediately looked it up in a book called Sex in America: A Definitive Survey. The odds were actually pretty good, he informed me. Sixty-three percent of married couples meet the way we did, through a network of friends.

To me, this 63 percent figure was a revelation. I always knew dating was a numbers game,
There are 86 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women.
but I'd never thought to take that saying literally. But as I continued browsing through my guy's extensive, factoid-heavy book collection, I realized that there were statistics confirming just about every dating phenomenon I'd ever experienced. So why not let the statistics guide you in your search for a lasting love? With that in mind, I put together a list of 10 factoids every single person should know:

1. 44 percent of adult Americans are single, according to U.S. Census figures. This means there are over 100 million unattached folks out there. So, if you've ever worried, "There's nobody out there for me," know that there's hope!

2. Statistically, the find-someone odds favor guys: There are 86 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women, although in some regions the gender ratio favors women, especially out west. Paradise, Nevada, a suburb 10 miles from Las Vegas, has 118 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women. Other cities where gals got it good include Austin, Texas; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Tempe, Arizona; and Sunnyvale and Santa Ana, California. A coincidental bonus for women thinking of relocating: All of these cities are sunny and warm.

3. The best place for single people on the prowl is New York, where 50 percent of state residents are unmarried, and Washington, D.C., where a whopping 70 percent of the population is single. The worst places are Idaho, where 60 percent of people are married; and Utah, where 59 percent of people are married.

4. Think you'll find love while perched on a barstool? Think again. Only 9 percent of women and 2 percent of men say they've found a relationship at a bar or club—blame it on the beer goggles. So if you're lonely and looking, you're better off hitting on cuties at Starbucks.

5. Got someone hot in your sights and want to reveal your interest? Fifty-one percent of people use flattery, according to the book Are You Normal About Sex, Love, and Relationships? Or, try touching them, a tactic used by 25 percent of single folk. Still another 23 percent utilize the schoolyard approach and send the word out through a friend.

6. If you're into online dating, you're hardly alone: 40 million
40 million Americans use online dating services.
Americans use online dating services; that's about 40 percent of our entire U.S. single-people pool. So if you haven't tried it yet, maybe it's time to dive in!

7. Profiles and photos go together great. Online, being bashful will get you nowhere. Women and men who post their photos receive more than twice as many e-mails as those without photos, according to a study published by economists at MIT and University of Chicago. Some numbers!

8. On a date, first impressions do count: Men take only 15 minutes to decide if a woman is worth a second date. For women, the clock isn't ticking quite so fast—they ponder whether to get together again for an hour or so.

9. The number one problem for couples in America? Disagreements about money, according to a poll by the University of Denver. So, don't write off a date just because you two bickered over the dinner bill; everyone clashes over cash.

10. If you're feeling like your relationship is hitting the skids and want to bail, the painful face-to-face approach might not be necessary: An estimated 48 percent of online daters report that their breakups have happened over e-mail. Call it rude or just plain convenient, but it happens a lot.


Meredith Broussard is the editor of an upcoming anthology, The Encyclopedia of Exes: 26 Stories by Men of Love Gone Wrong. Her website is www.failedrelationships.com.
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