This Chart Explains Why You're Single

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Feb. 14 2014 3:44 PM

You're Single Because You Live in New York

469390541-view-of-the-manhattan-skyline-including-one-world-trade
An awesome place to live if you are not looking for love.

Photo by Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

Every year, unmarried Americans are inundated with Internet lists of the best cities for us, in an effort to keep us clicking sadly through stock photos of metropolitan areas instead of actually getting out there to mingle within them. These lists often highlight cities where high proportions of single people already reside. That makes them “the best” in one way: It means that we have better access to friends who are not married and establishments that will accommodate our dining alone. But if you’re a single person actually looking to form a romantic relationship with another human, these places are kind of the worst.

This week, Facebook joined the love dataviz game by aggregating anonymous data from its billion-plus users and churning out charts about their romantic prospects. Today, it crunched the numbers on the cities-for-singles front and found that the five U.S. cities with the highest proportion of single people are Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Memphis. But Facebook also looked at the cities where users were most likely to change their relationship status from “single” to “in a relationship” in a given month and found that the top five cities for “relationship formation” are Colorado Springs, El Paso, Louisville, Fort Worth, and San Antonio. In fact, the more single people that live around you, the less likely you are to start a relationship with any of them:

Single_chart
Advertisement

Maybe singles in Los Angeles and New York are uniquely uninterested in notifying the world every time they find somebody to kiss on the mouth over an extended period. In cities where there’s not a huge amount of pressure to enter into traditional romantic relationships, the couplings that do form may not require a Facebook “In a Relationship” stamp of approval. (And the only time anyone should utter the phrase “It’s Complicated” is in the context of dialing up the delightful 2009 Meryl Streep–Alec Baldwin vehicle, preferably alone). But the fact remains that, as Facebook researcher Mike Develin puts it, “in a city where everyone is paired up, the incentive to pair up is even stronger.” That's either wonderful or horrifying, depending on how ironic your deployment of #foreveralone.

Amanda Hess is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

How Canada’s Shooting Tragedies Have Shaped Its Gun Control Politics

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?

Science

“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 6:30 PM The Tragedies That Have Shaped Canada's Gun Politics
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 4:10 PM Skinny Mark Wahlberg Goes for an Oscar: The First Trailer for The Gambler
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.