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America’s Best (and Worst) Cities for Dating

In partnership with AXE Deodorant Bodyspray

Hooking that hottie is hard enough without the odds stacked against you, so the city researchers at Sperling’s BestPlaces have identified for you "America’s Best and Worst Cities for Dating."

The study is based on criteria that includes percentage of singles ages 18-24, population density, and dating venues per capita such as concerts, coffee shops, bars, bowling alleys, etc., and includes 80 metro areas in America. We teamed up with AXE Deodorant Bodyspray, which specializes in the dating game, to find out which city is revered as the D.C. (Dating Capital) of the U.S.

Land of the Longhorn

Yee haw!     Austin, Texas, tops the list of best cities to play the dating game. Is the city you call home the place to find that special someone?


Best Cities for Dating

  1. Austin, TX
  2. Colorado Springs, CO
  3. San Diego, CA
  4. Raleigh/Durham, NC
  5. Seattle, WA
  6. Charleston, SC
  7. Norfolk, VA
  8. Ann Arbor, MI
  9. Springfield, MA
  10. Honolulu, HI

Worst Cities for Dating

  1. Kansas City, MO
  2. Wichita, KS
  3. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
  4. Detroit, MI
  5. Louisville, KY
  6. Greensboro/Winston-Salem, NC
  7. Atlanta, GA
  8. Pittsburgh, PA
  9. Houston, TX
  10. Charlotte, NC

Check out the complete list of all 80 cities in our study.


Interesting Facts from the Top Ten

“Large cities that everyone associates with socializing, like Los Angeles and Miami, did not rank particularly high, scoring lower in categories like coffee shops per capita and flowers bought as gifts,” said Bert Sperling, president of Sperling’s BestPlaces.

“But cities like Austin (No. 1), Colorado Springs (No. 2) and Ann Arbor (No. 8) were not a complete surprise – they are heavy-populated college towns and it’s easy for young singles to get together.”

  1. Austin, TX: Taking home the grand prize, Austin scores relatively high in everything, from frequency of dating partners to the number of establishments to meet people. Austin also has the highest percentage of 18-24-year-olds and knows how to have fun as they spent more money out socializing than any other area. Austin residents also had the highest expenditures on alcohol purchased away from home.
  2. Colorado Springs, CO: Ranks in the 99th percentile for socializing at bars and also scores high in the dining out category
  3. San Diego, CA: Scores high in the diversity index, which rates the likelihood of randomly meeting someone of a different race or ethnicity, and, of course, San Diego is off the charts when it comes to outdoor recreational opportunities
  4. Raleigh Durham, NC: Has a large 18-24-year-old population and a high amount of online daters in the area
  5. Seattle, WA: No surprise here - Seattle has the largest amount of coffee shops (great places for meeting people or gathering to rehash the previous night’s activities). It also has the highest percentage of online daters.
  6. Charleston, SC: Ranks second in the amount of lingerie shops per capita (behind Columbia, SC)
  7. Norfolk, VA: Came in near the top due to the exceptional amount of flowers that were brought as gifts for a special someone. Online dating was also high, in the 83rd percentile.
  8. Ann Arbor, MI: Scores in the 98th percentile for percentage of singles and ranks high in the dining out category as well
  9. Springfield, MA: Springfield scores high in many categories, among them are percentage of singles, health clubs per capita and bars per capita in the area
  10. Honolulu, HI: Honolulu ranks first in the diversity index category, which rates the likelihood of randomly meeting someone of a different race or ethnicity, and scores the highest in the dining out category as well. Honolulu has the lowest number of lingerie shops per capita, probably because no one’s wearing much clothing to begin with.

Better Luck Next Time

Below are some of the reasons that large cities like Detroit, Atlanta and Houston bottomed out in the study.

  • 18-24 population: Pittsburgh (overall No. 73 ranking) and Detroit (overall No. 77) are among cities with the lowest number of 18-24 year olds
  • Percentage of Singles: Charlotte, NC, (overall No. 71) is among the cities with the lowest percentage of singles
  • Latte, Anyone?: Wichita (overall No. 79) and Greensboro (overall No. 75) are among those cities that are home to the least number of coffee shops per capita, leaving few good places for young people to converge and trade stories after a fun night out
  • Remove Earplugs: Louisville (overall No. 76) scores low in the concert category; apparently the tour buses are not making a habit of stopping and rocking in Louisville
  • Necklaces and Bracelets and Rings, Oh My: Two of the cities where jewelry is least often bought as a gift are Detroit (overall No. 77) and Minneapolis (overall No. 78)
  • Ooo la la!: Houston (overall No. 72) is among cities with the least amount of lingerie shops per capita
  • Behind Bars: Atlanta (overall No. 74) is among the cities with the least amount of hot new bars, leaving young singles looking for places to meet potential hook ups

Reports from the field

"We've received feedback from some of the lowest ranking cities, and it appears our findings are on-track," noted Sperling. "In these cities, there are relatively few young singles and the towns are so spread out, it can be difficult for them to find each other. Some are using this study as a call to action to provide places where people can hang out and get together."

The Wichita Eagle comments about this study, "This survey might be tragically accurate. In the last year, this reporter has received dozens of complaints and pleas for help from singles ranging in age from early 20s to late 60s. Their gripes are all similar. They want to meet someone special but don't know how to do it or where to go. And they certainly don't want to prowl smoky bars waiting to be picked up and/or rejected"


Methodology

AXE, known coast-to-coast for their dating game expertise, came up with the idea of finding "America's Best and Worst Cities for Dating," using 24 distinct criteria including, among others: population density, percentage of singles, frequency of hooking up, dating venues such as coffee shops, bars, and intimate apparel stores and flowers and jewelry bought as gifts.

The study is based on the most currently available figures from the Census Bureau (population characteristics and statistics), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (frequency of sexual partners), Match.com (online daters), and criteria from leading relationship experts who weighed categories in terms of dating importance.

About Sperling’s BestPlaces

Pick up a newspaper and chances are you’ll see some of Sperling’s BestPlaces’ research. In the past few months, the research experts have conducted studies for Intel (“Most Unwired Cities), Pep Boys (Most Drivable Cities), and Most Stressful Cities. Visit www.bestplaces.net for the latest studies and the interactive Find Your Best Place to Live feature.

AXE Deodorant Bodyspray

AXE Deodorant Bodyspray comes loaded in funky black cans and has names like Phoenix, Tsunami, Kilo, and Orion. To learn more about AXE products, check out their website at www.theaxeeffect.com. They’ve also developed a neat Flash feature based on our study.


See also: our Find Your Best Place feature.