Best Cities for Singles

 
 
 
 

by Douglas Burger

Settling down isn’t a priority anymore. According to the U.S Census Bureau, the median age for first marriage has been on the rise since the 1960s for both men and women. Simultaneously, the single lifestyle has become more desirable.

The Best Cities to Be Single

With that in mind, we set out to find the best cities for singles in the U.S. To do so, we analyzed 24 data points from nine reputable sources. Below you will find our results, as well as a detailed methodology explaining how we arrived at them.

  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ

    • Community: 10
    • Enjoyment & Leisure: 7
    • Dating: 20
    • Cost of Living: 15
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

    • Community: 2
    • Enjoyment & Leisure: 10
    • Dating: 2
    • Cost of Living: 80
  • Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

    • Community: 21
    • Enjoyment & Leisure: 2
    • Dating: 47
    • Cost of Living: 25
  • Cleveland-Elyria, OH

    • Community: 29
    • Enjoyment & Leisure: 32
    • Dating: 18
    • Cost of Living: 20
  • Barnstable Town, MA

    • Community: 31
    • Enjoyment & Leisure: 3
    • Dating: 6
    • Cost of Living: 78

The Rest of the Best

The five above were tops, but 195 other cities were under consideration. Where did yours rank?

OverallCityCommunityDatingEnjoyment and LeisureCosts of Living
1New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA1020715
2San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA221080
3Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH2147225
4Cleveland-Elyria, OH29183220
5Barnstable Town, MA316378
6Madison, WI6431759
7Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA1071834
8Rochester, NY24214765
9St. Louis, MO-IL99183114
10Santa Rosa, CA48151684
11Austin-Round Rock, TX8755221
12Ann Arbor, MI41014422
13Trenton, NJ141111536
14Burlington-South Burlington, VT59282367
15Portland-South Portland, ME10844918
16Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL50972311
17Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI101521415
18San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA65233564
19Providence-Warwick, RI-MA151038133
19Salisbury, MD-DE17515573
21Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY71759119
21Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA34148110
23Columbus, OH10559374
24Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY52913143
25Charlottesville, VA52127301
26Charleston-North Charleston, SC85406917
26Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL161121370
28Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ19100494
29Richmond, VA60133206
30Pittsburgh, PA3591179
31Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA22877118
32Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL57118546
33Boulder, CO39658340
34Syracuse, NY251374116
35Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL15048292
36Norwich-New London, CT412464101
37Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV51964248
38Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD13666155
39San Diego-Carlsbad, CA454917130
40Lexington-Fayette, KY123262876
40Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL491062276
42Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN125533349
43Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA81711171
44Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA13261182
45Duluth, MN-WI332558162
46Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL421465140
46Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton, PA95642172
46Urban Honolulu, HI663126156
49Green Bay, WI126469813
50New Haven-Milford, CT85757162
50North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL951144431
52Jacksonville, FL130126257
53Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT763036147
54New Orleans-Metairie, LA183578160
55Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA166144072
55Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC11293852
57Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC861280115
58San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA976212125
59Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD389553116
60Savannah, GA972260124
61Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO1221112349
62Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA1001104452
63Akron, OH585482114
63Kansas City, MO-KS156765026
65Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT276412197
66Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI373866170
67Lincoln, NE1116734103
68Fort Collins, CO963913942
69Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA784910587
70Binghamton, NY2862105127
70Roanoke, VA158116408
72Eugene, OR472764186
73Toledo, OH466178141
74Springfield, MA1110167153
75Kalamazoo-Portage, MI751056885
76Gainesville, FL121617192
77Wilmington, NC707854139
78Worcester, MA-CT567411894
79Appleton, WI177606938
79Cedar Rapids, IA165449144
79Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL7913427104
82Durham-Chapel Hill, NC3011576126
83Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN140368887
84Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL3692102122
85Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI405497162
85Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI3499120100
87Lansing-East Lansing, MI6110496102
88Springfield, MO182918011
89Dayton, OH1036811383
90Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA183169278
91Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA9410639136
92Erie, PA311369200
93Raleigh, NC155829349
94Columbia, SC711521509
95Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ918590127
96Salt Lake City, UT1816811532
97College Station-Bryan, TX6215512456
98Asheville, NC13537116110
98Lynchburg, VA1141837229
98Sioux Falls, SD161589485
101Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN1519811734
102Tucson, AZ44125103131
103Utica-Rome, NY2380135166
104Champaign-Urbana, IL2088138162
105Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL8216912137
106Salem, OR1684356148
107Reading, PA10210921185
108Manchester-Nashua, NH11015613023
109Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA55103113149
110York-Hanover, PA1391721992
111Fort Wayne, IN1749010061
111Tallahassee, FL6159108152
113Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV13213015410
114Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL12871109127
115Boise City, ID1847510770
116Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC12711386112
117Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN11712074132
117Salinas, CA778098188
119Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI1531408769
120Huntsville, AL15414112926
121Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ8913788137
122Columbus, GA-AL9316213465
122Memphis, TN-MS-AR63139148104
124South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI8816310996
125Corpus Christi, TX13533151138
125Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX1738416139
127San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX1528315867
128Oklahoma City, OK1797016052
129Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV7441153194
130Jackson, MS8317718619
130Port St. Lucie, FL6918394119
132Chico, CA26142112187
133Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR16014314124
133Prescott, AZ1388515689
135Knoxville, TN16413812657
136Canton-Massillon, OH129108100149
137Lubbock, TX12013418054
138Reno, NV11644162167
139Greensboro-High Point, NC9079179143
140Wichita, KS1868914374
141Evansville, IN-KY1759414682
142Bremerton-Silverdale, WA1718773167
143Lancaster, PA17216410463
144Baton Rouge, LA67149147142
145Tulsa, OK1907216381
146Tuscaloosa, AL7319662176
147Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO19312815532
148Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX142128137106
149Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC13717514562
149Peoria, IL13172159157
151Olympia-Tumwater, WA16712462169
152Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC14515616558
153Chattanooga, TN-GA16113214390
154Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA106116183122
155Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA13477119199
156Lafayette, LA113123175119
157Albuquerque, NM72145169145
158Anchorage, AK16934151184
158Ogden-Clearfield, UT1991661685
158Topeka, KS17816713360
161Amarillo, TX18012118754
162Ocala, FL11820083144
163Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA115167125140
164Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL92198111154
165Vallejo-Fairfield, CA53186126191
166Killeen-Temple, TX19514818830
167Greeley, CO19118216428
168Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS146151172107
168Shreveport-Bossier City, LA80170177149
170Colorado Springs, CO18812217197
171Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC84189128178
171El Paso, TX18715019745
173Flint, MI54176178176
174Macon, GA43194173183
175Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH170131135158
176Birmingham-Hoover, AL157164142133
177Montgomery, AL104185174135
178Spartanburg, SC14916019999
179Fresno, CA68181167197
180Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA18518919547
181Mobile, AL124173149173
182Fort Smith, AR-OK19617118575
183Charleston, WV159118182174
184Provo-Orem, UT198177156107
185Stockton-Lodi, CA119192132198
186Rockford, IL109147192195
187Waco, TX163179190113
188Fayetteville, NC176154181158
188Winston-Salem, NC144158193174
188Yakima, WA133153191192
191Kennewick-Richland, WA194144175160
192Merced, CA121195166193
193Modesto, CA141199140196
194Clarksville, TN-KY197191184109
195McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX20019719891
196Bakersfield, CA147187170189
197Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX142174200181
198Brownsville-Harlingen, TX192180196145
199Visalia-Porterville, CA148188188190
200Laredo, TX189193194180

The Top (and Bottom) Five Cities for...

Singles – both men and women – all have different ways of enjoying the single lifestyle. Here we breakdown a few of the data points we used in order to best represent all singles.

Male-to-female Ratio

We felt gender distribution was an important factor for the single lifestyle. The more equal the population gender ratio, the better for all. The U.S. Census Bureau calculates the number of males per 100 females. We used that number to determine the city that was closest to a 1:1 ratio. Only one city on our list had perfect distribution: Norwich-New London, Conn.

RankCityMs per 100 Fs
1Norwich-New London, CT100
2Appleton, WI99.8
2Austin-Round Rock, TX100.2
2Boise City, ID99.8
2Sioux Falls, SD99.8
RankCityMs per 100 Fs
200Barnstable Town, MA91
199Springfield, MA91.6
198Mobile, AL91.9
195Jackson, MS92.2
195Macon, GA92.2

Most Movie Theaters

Dinner and a movie -- the classic date night. Along with number of restaurants and three-course meal costs, we calculated the number of movie theaters per 1,000 members of the population. Barnstable Town leads the way with nine movie theaters for its modest population, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

RankCityTheaters
1Barnstable Town, MA0.042
2Bremerton-Silverdale, WA0.035
3Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA0.030
4Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL0.028
5Burlington-South Burlington, VT0.028
RankCityTheaters
200Tuscaloosa, AL0.004
199Macon, GA0.004
198Mobile, AL0.005
197Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC0.005
196Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS0.005

One-bedroom Cost

Not all singles can afford to live alone, and roommates become necessary. Most, though, aspire to have their own place. Using Apartment List, we ranked the price of median one-bedroom rent cost in each city. Unsurprisingly, the notoriously expensive New York and San Francisco were the priciest.

RankCityRent
1Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA$370
2Springfield, MO$430
2Fort Smith, AR-OK$430
4Huntsville, AL$450
5Killeen-Temple, TX$470
RankCityRent
200New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA$3,500
199San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$3,460
198Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH$2,500
197San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$2,190
195Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV$2,170

Experts' Take

To vary our coverage of the best cities for singles, we put the data aside and sought out an expert for answers to four questions of concern.

Michelle Frankel is the founder of NYCity Matchmaking.

1. How have cities changed as the single lifestyle has become preferable for twentysomethings? Cities now are all about instant gratification, convenience and accessibility. Having things open late in the evening fits around a social single’s schedule -- and thus the "City that Never Sleeps" is perfect for today’s singles.

2. What factors about living in a city are most important to single people? Ease, convenience and accessibility are all important for today’s singles, but social interaction and a high quantity of other singles are most important to them.

3. How can cities still affect the dating scene as online dating has become more common? Although online dating has become more common, singles still want to meet in person organically, and cities that can provide an active community with single-based social events being key to singles’ social success and happiness.

4. Are singles good for an economy? How should cities draw singles to them? Singles are great for an economy because they have disposable income, and cities can draw singles by hosting events geared towards them.

Methodology

In order to determine the best cities for singles, we looked at 24 data points from nine reputable sources. The single lifestyle means different things to different people and each city has perks and drawbacks. We attempted to use data points that would be important to both men and women as well as those who are enjoying the single life or looking for a significant other.

By breaking up the singles community by age and gender in our first category, we felt we could best represent individuals who are looking to date, but also those who are looking for a community of other singles in their city. The U.S. Census Bureau only categorizes the population in terms of marriage. For data points one through six we only used the never-married population, which unfortunately does not account for people in non-marital relationships.

Whether it’s spent alone, with friends or on a date, a weekend afternoon is prime time for singles to enjoy their city. Data points nine through 19 encompass what we felt would be at the top of the list of important things to consider when planning one of these afternoons, from dinner and a movie to a picnic in the park.

Below, we break down each statistic and point to its origin with the data point’s and category’s weighting listed in parentheses. Data points that didn’t have available data for all cities in our study were also given a lower weighting. Those marked with an asterisk are state-based (not city-based).

Community

  1. Percentage of population men aged 20-34: never married (1.5) / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014
  2. Percentage of population men aged 35-44: never married / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014
  3. Percentage of population men aged 45-54: never married (.5) / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014
  4. Percentage of population women aged 20-34: never married (1.5) / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014
  5. Percentage of population women aged 35-44: never married / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014
  6. Percentage of population women aged 45-54: never married (.5) / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014
  7. Sex ratio (males per 100 females) / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014
  8. Children 17 years old and under as a percentage of the population / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014

Dating

  1. Number of bars per 1,000 members of the population / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014
  2. Number of restaurants per 1,000 members of the population / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014
  3. Number of museums, historical sites and other institutions / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014
  4. Movie theaters per 1,000 members of the population / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014
  5. Average cost of three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant (.5) / Numbeo, 2016

Enjoyment and Leisure

  1. Average number of days per year with a temperature below 32 and above 90 / National Centers for Environmental Information, 2014
  2. Number of hair, nail and skin care services per 1,000 members of the population / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014
  3. Parkland as a percentage of city area (.5) / The Trust for Public Land, 2016
  4. Number of golf courses and country clubs per 1,000 members of the population / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014
  5. Best cities for bicycling / ValuePenguin Research, 2016
  6. Average monthly fee for one adult at fitness club (.5) / Numbeo, 2016

Cost of Living

  1. Gas Prices * / AAA, 2016
  2. Mean income: Nonfamily households / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014
  3. Median one-bedroom rent cost / Apartment List, 2016
  4. Unemployment rate / Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
  5. Instances of burglary per 100,000 members of the population / FBI, 2014

Comments and Questions