I am a single male. I am also an Economist. So perhaps to no surprise, rather than me head bopping to EDM at a nightclub getting sweet with the ladies, I’ve been doing the late-night head bopping at my computer while analyzing how men outnumber women from Canadian Census data.
Why Male-Female Ratios Matter
Have you ever heard someone say, "my trip to (city) was awesome, there were so many (opposite gender)!"? What's really been observed is a city with a very favorable male-female ratio. This ratio is the most powerful determinant for how easily one can find a partner - save for ones own individual attributes. With 100 men and 100 women (all straight), everyone can find a partner, and everyone is happy. When you deviate from this 1:1 male-female ratio, those in the abundant gender risk being single, which puts competitive dating pressures on that gender. People have to step up their game, change their dating standards, or even steal away someone else's partner.
"Dating-age" Male-Female Ratios
You may occasionally come across news articles that list the top and lowest male-female ratio cities across Canada. While the numbers are technically true, they can be misleading for those of us who are single and in the dating pool. First, a city's male-female ratio can simply vary a lot by age. A city could be - when compared to the number of women - drowning with male's in their 20's but scarce when it comes to those in their 30's or 40's. A second issue is related to how women outlive men. When measuring the male-female ratio using all age levels, cities that have large retirement-communities will have lower male-female ratios. This can give the impression that it's a great place to be a young single guy, but really the city may be only abundant with older women.
What I've done differently is calculate male-female ratios only for those aged 20 to 54, and broken this down in 5-year age increments (e.g., 20 to 24, 25 to 29, etc). Using Census data estimates for 2014 from Statistics Canada, male-female ratios have been calculated for 35 cities across Canada.
The Best and Worst Cities to be Single
This first graph below ranks, for a given 5-year age bracket, the highest to lowest male-female ratios across Canadian cities. A ratio greater than one means more men than women, and less than one is more women than men. Click on a particular city, and it will stay highlighted as you pick different age brackets.
What are the best cities to be a single woman? From age 25 to 39, the Quebec cities Saguenay, Trois-Rivieres, Sherbrooke, and Quebec City are all top choices. For those aged 40 to 54, the best cities move west to Edmonton, Calgary, and Saskatoon. For these male abundant cities, it's common to see 107 men or more for every 100 women.
As for men seeking women, Toronto and Windsor are top destinations for low male-female ratios for those aged 25 to 44. Ottawa (primarily the Ontario portion) is favorable from age 30 to 44. For those a little older, Saint John (New Brunswick) is welcoming at age 35 all the way to 54. For these female abundant cities, it's common to see about 93 men or less for every 100 women.
How Male-Female Ratios Vary by Age
This second graph shows at a city-level, how the male-female ratio changes when progressing from age 20 to 54. Some cities are pretty consistent across all ages, but there are a fair number that have significant changes in the ratio as age changes.
One perhaps obvious point to make with this graph is that just because a gender is abundant for one age-bracket, it doesn't automatically mean that gender will have a hard time finding a partner. Age brackets aren't like the caste system, people can date outside of them! And being part of the abundant gender for your age group just gives more incentive to expand your dating pool with those younger or older than you - especially if those other ages are less abundant with your gender.
I'm no longer surprised that I'm an Economist AND single.