5 Best Cities for Singles
"We feel that these are the places you should go to if you want to find love," says economist Krishna Rao of real-estate site Zillow.com, which this week released its Valentines Day Index of America's most singles-friendly locales.
The firm analyzed America's 50 largest metro areas for three criteria key to finding your soul mate:
- what percent of the local population is single;
- how many restaurants and other date-friendly sites a place has per capita;
- how much disposable income the typical single has -- an important consideration if you expect your date to at least sometimes pick up the check.
Rao says singles-friendly cities are actually harder than you'd think to find, as unmarried people make up just 50.8% of America's total 15-and-older population.
Zillow also estimates that the typical single has just $1,301 a month of gross income left after paying rent -- not always enough to pay for dates considering that also has to cover taxes, car payments and other expenses.
Lastly, Rao says the average U.S. community has just 15.9 restaurants, bars, museums and other date-suitable establishments for every 10,000 residents, meaning there aren't always lots of interesting places to go.
Fortunately, the cities at the top of Zillow's Valentines Day Index all rate well above the U.S. average on each of the three indicators measured.
"If you're single and had to pick four or five places to move to, we think these cities definitely make the most sense," Rao says.
Read on to see which communities came out on top of Zillow's rankings based on an average of the three factors considered.
Population and income figures come from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 American Community Survey, while numbers on date-friendly establishments are from the 2011 County Business Patterns report.
Rent estimates refer to the Zillow Rental Index, a projection of what a metro area's typical residence (even owner-occupied houses and condos) would rent for on the open market.
Fifth-best U.S. metro area for singles: Hartford, Conn.
Score: 71.6 (out of a possible 100)
Move to the "Insurance Capital of the World" and you shouldn't need to file a claim for a broken heart -- or at least you'll have plenty of chances to mend it with a fresh romance.
That's because Connecticut's capital ranks in the 60th percentile among U.S. cities for single residents (51.6% of total population), as well as in the 67th percentile for date-friendly establishments (16.8 per 10,000 residents).
But Hartford really takes the (wedding) cake when it comes to high disposable income among singles.
A combination of generous salaries and modest rents means the typical Hartford single has $1,661 in gross income per month after paying rent, putting the community in the 88th percentile for that measure.
"Hartford singles have a fair amount of cash to burn," Rao says.