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Washington DC logs lowest ratio of unmarried men to women

If you are an unmarried male, the chances of finding a female partner in the US are stacked in your favour, according to the US Census Bureau.

HQ Team

September 8, 2023: If you are an unmarried male, the chances of finding a female partner in the US are stacked in your favour, according to the US Census Bureau.

There were 89.8 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women in 2019, according to the survey.

The age group between 30 and 34 had the other extreme of about 121 men for every 100 women. 

The unmarried population includes people aged 18 and over who were never married, widowed or divorced, regardless of their sexual orientation.

The capital, Washington, DC, had one of the lowest ratios of unmarried men to women — 80 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women. 

In Alaska, it was the other way round —117 available men for every 100 women.

Eligible candidate pool

“Ratios of unmarried men to women matter because people interested in romantic partnerships select from a pool of eligible candidates available to them, often called a “marriage market,” according to a statement.

“The more eligible partners in a given market, the better the chances of forging a romantic partnership or marriage.”

Although the ratio of unmarried men to women isn’t the only factor that affects finding a mate, it is a critical indicator of potential mate availability among those interested in opposite-sex partners.

There is considerable variation in these unmarried ratios by state, age, race and Hispanic origin.

An interactive data visualization released by the Census Bureau highlights these differences and allows users to customise the data by each field of interest.

Marriage patterns

Geographic variation in marriage patterns has been studied extensively, and the employment, income and education profiles of adults may differ across specific marriage markets. 

Research has shown that men who are employed, have higher incomes and are college-educated are more attractive in the marriage market.

Racial and ethnic intermarriage and cohabitation are becoming more common nationwide but most adults still tend to marry within their racial and ethnic group.

 A contributing factor to this variation is that among race and Hispanic origin groups, the population is not evenly distributed across states.

At the national level, the unmarried sex ratio by race and Hispanic origin ranged from 79.8 for the Black or African American alone population to 100.1 for the Hispanic population.

African American, Hispanic

There were about 180 unmarried Black or African American men per 100 unmarried Black or African American women in Alaska. 

For the Asian single population, there were only about 52 unmarried men per 100 unmarried women in New Mexico.

Although the overall sex ratio for unmarried adults in the United States was about 90 men per 100 women, the 30-to-34 age group had the highest ratio at nearly 121 men to 100 women. 

This is likely due to men having a higher median age at first marriage (30.1) than women at 28.

“This pattern reverses at older ages, but likely for a different reason. The 55-and-over age group had the lowest unmarried ratio, with approximately 57 men per 100 women. 

“This is likely driven by a shorter life expectancy for men than women, which produces disproportionately high counts of unmarried women at older ages — many who may be single simply because they outlived their spouse,” the study stated.

Labour markets

Differences in local labour markets also influenced sex ratios across the nation’s geographies.

States with large industries that employ more men or women could tilt sex ratios in one direction or the other. 

States with a large military population may also slant sex ratios toward men since the majority of active duty military are men.

This may be why a state like Alaska, dominated by industries that tend to employ mainly men, had among the highest unmarried sex ratios for the 18-to-24, 45-to-54, and 55-and-over age groups.

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