America’s best & worst cities for single women


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All the single ladies: This one’s for you. Cities that are great for the average bachelorette tend to have a few things in common: plentiful job prospects, a vibrant culture, access to a healthy lifestyle, a promising dating pool, and a low crime rate are among the most attractive.

LendingTree took a look at the 100 largest metropolitan areas across the U.S. and crunched the numbers on all of these factors to give you a clearer picture of the places leading the pack for single women — and the ones that missed the mark.

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For this study, we analyzed data from the 2017 Five-Year American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau for 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 the demographics score is composed of, is calculated by comparing the number of 20- to 50-year-old unmarried men to 20- to 50-year-old unmarried women. The smaller of the two numbers is then divided by the larger to create the gender ratio.

The health measures and violent crime rate are taken from the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program. The culture and entertainment measures are from the Census Bureau’s 2016 County Business Patterns datasets.

Each of the variables were given a value according to their 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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Understanding the rankings

For the study, we reviewed a range of variables to determine which of the 100 largest metros are the most welcoming to single, working women. The variables were grouped into five categories:

  • Demographics: A city that is friendly to single women will also have a large population of other singles. We looked at the percentage of single women who fall in the 20- to 50-year-old age range, as well as how balanced the gender ratio is for 20 to 50-year-old single men and women. If there are too many men to women, that suggests a metro area that is less geared toward women. If there were too many women to men, that represented much slimmer dating pool. Ideally, the best cities for single women would have a close-to -even gender ratio.
  • Economics: The economic prospects for single women depend on how small the gap is between them and their male counterparts. We evaluated the unemployment rate, median income and homeownership rate for single women of working age, as well as the homeownership and income gaps between single men and women. The smaller the gaps, the more friendly the metro area is to single women.
  • Well-being: We determined each metro area’s well-being score by evaluating whether people have access to healthy food and fitness opportunities, and whether that access actually results in people practicing a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, since long commutes are often found to add to stress levels, we looked at the percentage of the population with lengthy commutes to the office.
  • Culture and entertainment: The fun factor was measured by evaluating how many varied opportunities there are for a good night out and cultural activities. For each of the 100 metro areas, we looked at how many bars and restaurants per capita, performing institutions and museums there are. The performing institutions and museums were evaluated on a per capita and total basis, and both measures were averaged over to create a single arts institution value and museum value.
  • Safety: We used the violent crime rate to determine how low the crime rate is in each metro area.

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5. Rochester, New York

Final score: 63.6

  • Demographics score: 83.2
  • Economics score: 45.5
  • Well-being score: 74.8
  • Culture and entertainment score: 36.6
  • Safety score: 78.2

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4. Syracuse, New York

Final score: 64.1

  • Demographics score: 76.2
  • Economics score: 46.7
  • Well-being score: 77.5
  • Culture and entertainment score: 42.5
  • Safety score: 77.8

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3. Hartford, Connecticut

Final score: 64.2

  • Demographics score: 72.3
  • Economics score: 56.0
  • Well-being score: 76.1
  • Culture and entertainment score: 33.6
  • Safety score: 83.1

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2. Bridgeport, Connecticut

Final score: 64.4

  • Demographics score: 62.2
  • Economics score: 61.4
  • Well-being score: 79.4
  • Culture and entertainment score: 39.4
  • Safety score: 79.7

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1. Madison, Wisconsin

Final score: 65.9

  • Demographics score: 52.2
  • Economics score: 52.8
  • Well-being score: 84.1
  • Culture and entertainment score: 55.4
  • Safety score: 85.2

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Worst cities

A low culture and entertainment score — indicating a scarcity of bars, restaurants and overall things to do — put Bakersfield, Calif., in the bottom spot out of the 100 metro areas ranked. Bakersfield also had a low economics score, reflecting low wages, slim job opportunities and a wider gender gap in income. The metro area also had a low demographics score, reflecting a low population of single, working women.

Both Stockton, Calif. and Memphis, Tenn. had better economics scores than Bakersfield, Calif., but their lower safety scores and lack of culture and entertainment opportunities negatively affected their overall final scores.

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5. McAllen, Texas

Final score: 45.5

  • Demographics score: 62.7
  • Economics score: 38.6
  • Well-being score: 44.1
  • Culture and entertainment score: 7.6
  • Safety score: 74.6

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4. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Final score: 45.4

  • Demographics score: 76.6
  • Economics score: 30.8
  • Well-being score: 47.7
  • Culture and entertainment score: 18.1
  • Safety score: 53.9

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3. Memphis, Tennessee

Final score: 38.4

  • Demographics score: 86.3
  • Economics score: 40.4
  • Well-being score: 49.4
  • Culture and entertainment score: 15.6
  • Safety score: 0.0

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2. Stockton, California

Final score: 36.9

  • Demographics score: 44.5
  • Economics score: 40.4
  • Well-being score: 63.1
  • Culture and entertainment score: 11.6
  • Safety score: 24.7

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1. Bakersfield, California

Final score: 35.6

  • Demographics score: 19.8
  • Economics score: 29.0
  • Well-being score: 70.3
  • Culture and entertainment score: 9.9
  • Safety score: 48.7

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