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How to handle the "man deficit" as a female online dater
There has been a lot of attention recently given to the thought that current demographics are unfavorable for educated women.
author By Singlesatlas, updated November 7, 2015

Through times tradition has been that women marry men who are educated at least as well as themselves.

The "educated man shortage" arose since nowadays way more women than men go through college in the Western world.

Author Jon Birger recently launched a book that deals with this phenomenon in detail. In Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game he presents demographics related theories on why people marry less than before.

Birger writes that among college graduates in their twenties in the United States, for every four women, there are only three men. He used data from the American Community Survey and other sources for his number crunching. The Singlesatlas website also facilitates data from that survey.

Birger told ABC News:

"Men are more likely to play the field and delay marriage when women are an oversupply"

Since there are so many women to choose from, the noticeably fewer "eligible" men often just enjoy the wave of fun after becoming the educated scarcity, and are reluctant to settle down.

This shortage of men with a college degree is reflected in the world of online dating. Even though there are more men on online dating sites, landing a man with a proper education can be hard still.

This site is here to help you reach your romantic goals through means of population statistics and presentation. Using the tools at disposal here I therefore propose a way for individual women to try to counter this for themselves. The method is aimed at improving your odds of finding lasting love online.

I should add that I have not tried this out myself, and I am curious about how this pans out for you. If you decide to use the method and succeed, don't forget to write me after your tenth wedding anniversary.

Assessing the situation

One key point to recognize is that there are many regional differences. If to look at USA, the western part has in general more "greener pastures" for women looking to meet men.

For instance, in Santa Clara County of Silicon Valley there are a lot more men than women. This in result gives the men there fewer options. So if communicating with a man living there, chances of creating a lasting connection should be higher than what could be the case when flirting with a man of Manhattan. As the latter is more likely to be spoiled with attention from the hoards of women living in his city.

A single woman's view of USA
Figure 1. The western cities of USA generally have a higher ratio of men to women than the eastern cities, as illustrated with this snapshot of the map. The map was set up to mark cities by how good the gender ratios are from a woman's point of view there. Green means good, while red means bad.

Jon Birger found that in Santa Clara 33% of the college educated women aged 22 to 29 are married, while for Manhattan the number is only 13%. Some may say that this could be because women in New York are not as marriage oriented as those in Santa Clara. But for most women this fact alone should be compelling evidence that demographics play a major role in their chances of reaching their romantic goals.

However, Silicon Valley may be far away, and in any case you are perhaps not among those overly keen on dropping anchor with a computer scientist. An alternative bet could be to study the demographics in your more immediate surroundings. There are considerable differences between cities, and naturally variations also exist between ZIP code areas.

Wherever there is a relatively high amount of men compared to women in your age group, these will in general be the places where it is most doable to find a man that is ready to enter a long-lasting relationship with you.

Your plan of action

In online dating sites like OkCupid it is possible to search for people within a specific country, city or ZIP code. This is a feature you are going to use.

What you first need to do is to decide within which geographical area you will be searching for your soul mate. I guess you have come this far already.

Next you look up this area on the map here at Singlesatlas. Zoom in and pan around until you have your area in the browser. Then specify that you are a woman, and your favorite age range of men. Choose whether to focus on only those not married, or everybody. Not hinting that you should have a go at married men, but some countries do not have marital status statistics available. You can also choose to limit the number of potential men by their estimated height and BMI.

Population data for the US comes from the American Community Survey. Height estimates are based on the estimated male height distribution at a country level. The BMI numbers are by 5-year age groups and are derived by combining US county-based data used in IHME's US Health Map and the global obesity dataset, also from IHME.

The map will show you the ratios of selected men to women, in your specified age group, for the places that are inside your geographical area of interest. The brighter green a place is, the better the sex ratio is for you. As you zoom further in, smaller places that were originally hidden from view will become visible.

Note that the colors on your current view of the map are relative to the other places visible. When you adjust the map, colors will change. This is so that you at a glance will see where the good and also the not so good places for you to focus your search are, within the current view of the map.

You will see a sorted list of places that have the most favorable ratios. You can also through the drop-down menu choice "Largest amount" see places ordered by the total amount of your type of man living there. Another option is to order by the level of "presence" of your selected kind of man. The numbers indicate the estimated amount of men according to your preference that live there, out of every 1000 persons (for USA: aged 15 and up). Thus, the places at the top will have relatively many men in your chosen group living there compared to other people. So, great. Those locations also tend to have a higher than average amount of facilites that are geared towards that kind of people.

Competition from other women could be heavy in these places, as there might be many of them as well. The "Ratio * Presence" ranking was therefore created to push up places that both have good ratios and a good presence.

It is among the top ranked "Best ratios" and "Ratio * Presence" places you are going to search for a partner in the Online Dating interface of e.g. OkCupid or Match. Simply login, set your search parameters, and limit the geography to good ratio places, as discovered through Singlesatlas. Remember to specify which degree of education you require that your possible partner has in the online dating search interface.

An abundance of men looking for their Princess

I will bring in an example. Say that you are a women looking for unmarried men in their thirties, they should be at least 6 feet tall, and have a BMI under the obesity limit of 30. I've decided to search for Urban areas in eastern parts of USA, and started off with the map "USA Urban" from the Country pulldown-list from the menu you'll see when you click the triple line symbol in the top right corner.

Then I limited my search area by zooming and panning the map. The screenshot in Figure 2 demonstrates what you might see with identical settings. On top of the 'Ratio * Presence' ranking you see the fabulously named Urban Cluster of Princess Anne, Maryland. The statistics tell us that here could be one of the best cities for you to search for a guy. For every 100 single women aged 30-39 there is an estimated amount of 47 single men in that age group at least 6 feet tall, with a BMI of less than 30 living there. That is roughly three times the average for the USA as a whole. It is in fact almost, but not quite, at the same level as the tallest country in the world, which is the Netherlands. Maybe it's time to decide upon that vacation to Eindoven you always dreamt about?

men 30-39, Princess Anne, WV
Figure 2. Princess Anne could be one of the best places for meeting single guys in their 30's

Here comes an embedded version of the map, set up for USA, including ZIP codes areas.

The colors initially indicate the share of single men compared to single women in the 25 to 39 age group. Green means a high number, while red indicates a low number. Have fun with tuning those sliders, and pressing those buttons. View in new window.

You may have wondered, how do you sort out ratios of people with different degrees of education. You do this by using the focus group dropdown menu under the age range slider. Simply select what minimum level of education you require your partner to have. Local education level information is available for the United States only.

There is also the possibility to grey out countries based on e.g. income and education levels on a country basis, available under the "Country filters". To see its usefulness, click the "Cities" button to reveal the "Countries"-version of the map.

Sharpening focus

It is not only the ratios of the areas you find that matter. Other aspects to have in mind are

  • the number of men living there. If the number of men is low, you risk not finding anyone attractive to you through your online dating site.
  • the geographical size of the area. Larger is often better, since it will mean that there will be less traveling in and out of the area, thus decreasing the occurrences of romances with people from nearby places.
  • the ratios and population sizes of surrounding areas. Since there inevitably will be some level of flow of people between areas around, a quick look will help you get an idea of the risk that your chosen ones get tempted by seductresses coming from neighboring areas. A good, green area that is surrounded by red areas is naturally influenced by those negatively.
  • A search within ZIP code areas inside cities is not really useful. Not only because it is easy to travel to meet people from nearby ZIP code areas. But also because the online dating sites typically include the whole city (and thus a number of surrounding ZIP code areas) in the search.

And that's it! I hope you now have what you need to get started. Do you have questions, comments, ideas for how to improve the service? They are all welcome.

I wish you success. And perhaps you may consider helping your friends finding their soul mate as well by sharing the word?

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