America’s Best Cities for Single Men
When you consider what might make a city great for the average bachelor, what comes to mind? You might throw in great job prospects, a sizable dating pool, the ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a low crime rate.
LendingTree analyzed data on the 100 largest metropolitan areas to figure out which cities offer these perks and more. The results give some clarity about the places where single men can potentially feel most welcome and those areas that don’t really make the cut.
Madison, Wis., is the best city for single men
Our analysis found that Madison is the No. 1 metro for single men, thanks primarily to how well it performs on health and safety measures. The Midwestern city also had one of the highest culture and entertainment scores of the cities we ranked, with numerous arts institutions, bars, restaurants and other fun things to do. Madison also claimed the top spot in our ranking of the best cities for single women.
The next 2 best-scoring cities are in the Northeast
Hartford, Conn., and Albany, N.Y., are the No. 2 and No. 3 best cities, respectively, for single men, mainly due to their high scores on health and safety. Hartford did notably well on demographics, as it has a more balanced ratio of single adults. Albany also scored high on demographics, but did particularly well on its culture and entertainment score.
Memphis, Tenn., ranked last on our list
Based on our criteria, Memphis, Tenn., scored the lowest overall. The metro did poorly on economic opportunities as well as culture and entertainment. However, the main factor dragging the final score down was Memphis’s extremely low safety score, reflecting that it has the highest violent crime rate of the 100 metro areas we ranked.
The 2nd- and 3rd-to-last cities are in California’s Central Valley
Stockton and Bakersfield, Calif., ranked second and third from the bottom, respectively. Although both metros had better economic scores than Memphis, the unemployment rate for single men in each metro is on the higher end, and they both scored poorly on culture and entertainment.
Outside of Madison, Wis., metropolitan areas in the Northeast region of the U.S. dominated the top 10 rankings. The only other non-Northeast metros that made it to the top 10 are Richmond, Va., and Oxnard, Calif.
New York and Washington, D.C., just missed the top 10 but made it in the top 15. These metros offer a relatively safe and healthy environment, and a good mix of opportunities for culture and entertainment activities.
Near the bottom of the list are a mix of Southern, Southwestern and Western metro areas. A combination of higher violent crime rates, meager salaries and lack of culture and entertainment activities pushed down their final scores.
The top 5 metros for single men
1. Madison, Wis.
Final score: 67.9
- Demographics score: 63.7
- Economics score: 47.3
- Well-being score: 84.1
- Culture and entertainment score: 59.2
- Safety: 85.2
2. Hartford, Conn.
Final score: 65.6
- Demographics score: 77.2
- Economics score: 50.5
- Well-being score: 76.1
- Culture and entertainment score: 41.0
- Safety: 83.1
3. Albany, N.Y.
Final score: 65.1
- Demographics score: 75.8
- Economics score: 44.7
- Well-being score: 70.9
- Culture and entertainment score: 55.0
- Safety: 79.2
4. Syracuse, N.Y.
Final score: 64.6
- Demographics score: 80.8
- Economics score: 40.4
- Well-being score: 77.5
- Culture and entertainment score: 46.4
- Safety: 77.8
5. Rochester, N.Y.
Final score: 64.5
- Demographics score: 84.3
- Economics score: 43.1
- Well-being score: 74.8
- Culture and entertainment score: 42.2
- Safety: 78.2
The bottom 5 metros for single men
1. Memphis, Tenn.
Final score: 35.9
- Demographics score: 82.7
- Economics score: 27.2
- Well-being score: 49.4
- Culture and entertainment score: 19.9
- Safety: 0.0
2. Stockton, Calif.
Final score: 36.6
- Demographics score: 52.4
- Economics score: 31.4
- Well-being score: 63.1
- Culture and entertainment score: 11.5
- Safety: 24.7
3. Bakersfield, Calif.
Final score: 41.3
- Demographics score: 40.8
- Economics score: 36.2
- Well-being score: 70.3
- Culture and entertainment score: 10.5
- Safety: 48.7
4. McAllen, Texas
Final score: 43.1
- Demographics score: 56.8
- Economics score: 33.0
- Well-being score: 44.1
- Culture and entertainment score: 7.1
- Safety: 74.6
Final score: 43.9
- Demographics score: 54.5
- Economics score: 42.5
- Well-being score: 54.9
- Culture and entertainment score: 19.5
- Safety: 48.3
Understanding the rankings
For the study, we considered a range of variables to evaluate which of the 100 largest metropolitan areas would be the most friendly to single, working men. We grouped the variables into five categories and evaluated each metro area according to those categories.
- Demographics: A city that is welcoming to single men will also have plenty of other single adults. We pulled data on the percentage of 20- to 50-year-olds that are single men, as well as analyzed how balanced the gender ratio is between 20- to 50-year-old single men and women. Too many women to men suggests a city less geared to men, while too many men to women suggests slimmer dating opportunities. The best cities for single men would need a close-to-even gender ratio.
- Economics: We evaluated the unemployment rate, median annual income and homeownership rate for single, working men to determine how good the economic prospects are in each metro area.
- Well-being: This score was determined by the percentage of people who have access to healthy food, exercise facilities and whether that access is useful enough to result in people participating in a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, since long commutes are often found to add to stress levels, we looked at the percentage of the population with long commutes.
- Culture and entertainment: We looked at how many bars, restaurants, sports clubs and teams each city had per capita, along with the number of museums and performing arts establishments. The museums and performing arts places were evaluated on both a total and per capita basis, averaging over both measures to create a single arts institution value and a museum value. We used the total number for museums and performing arts institutions because people tend to travel across the city to visit these places, rather than just staying in their neighborhood. Therefore, a higher total number is a plus, as it reflects a greater variety of cultural and entertainment activities.
- Safety: This score was based on violent crime rate data, which was used to determine how low the crime rate is in each city.
LendingTree analysts used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 Five-year American Community Survey to gather the demographic and economic measures, except for the homeownership rate, which comes from the 2010 decennial census.
The gender ratio, one of the two variables used to compose the demographics score, is calculated by comparing the number of 20- to 50-year-old unmarried men to the number of 20- to 50-year-old unmarried women. The smaller of the two numbers is then divided by the larger number to create the ratio.
The health measures and violent crime rate data were pulled from the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program. The culture and entertainment measures come from the Census Bureau’s 2016 County Business Patterns data sets.
Each variable was given a value according to its relative location between the highest and lowest values. The variable values in each category were then averaged to create the category score. The final score is an average over all five category scores.
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