Thursday, June 13, 2024

Best U.S. cities for singles on Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day around the corner and inflation making dates more expensive, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2024’s Best & Worst States for Singles, as well as expert commentary.

To help unattached Americans improve their chances of finding love, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 29 key indicators of dating-friendliness. The data set ranges from the share of single adults to online-dating opportunities to restaurants per capita.

“Finding love can be tough, but being in the right place can contribute to a successful relationship. The best states are ones that provide a wide variety of venues for dates and have a large population of singles who are actively looking for a partner. The unfortunate tradeoff is that dating usually isn’t cheap in states that provide these ideal conditions,” says Cassandra Happe, WalletHub analyst.

“Florida is the best state for singles overall in large part due to its large variety of attractions, ranking first in the nation for the number of theme parks, restaurants, music festivals and nature parks per capita. The Sunshine State has a population that’s eager to date, as residents search Google for the names of top dating websites and dating-related terms more than residents of most other states.”

Best & Worst States for Singles

Overall Rank StateTotal Score Dating Opportunities Rank Dating Economics Rank Romance & Fun Rank 
4New York62.751502
10New Jersey56.3092312
15North Carolina54.49122216
28Rhode Island48.46133934
29New Hampshire48.25313711
41South Carolina42.76382842
42New Mexico41.74284150
44South Dakota41.0649237
49North Dakota36.8250346
50West Virginia35.59483648

What should singles be looking for when choosing where to live?

“Singles should look for places to live that provide opportunities for connection and a healthy lifestyle. Factors to look for when choosing where to live include affordable housing, overall safety, biking and walking trails, access to fresh foods, social activities, a sense of connectedness, and economic opportunities. Social connections are one of the most important factors for mental health and well-being. But it can be a challenge to meet new people and form a close, reliable network, especially when you move somewhere new. Singles should consider whether they have some existing relationships that have the potential to develop and grow when they are deciding where to live. Getting involved in volunteer activities is a great way to meet new people, contribute to the community, and feel good. The adage of ‘you get what you give’ rings true – wherever singles decide to live, the effort they put into making the place they live the place they love, will make the biggest difference to their happiness.” — Maryam Kia-Keating, Ph.D., Professor; Chair, Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara

“For singles thinking about desirable places to live, a robust job market often attracts other young people (not all single, but given delayed marriage many will be). Hot job markets also tend to attract fun amenities – music venues, cool bars, or exciting cultural events…Whether one wants to move to a place with lots of graduate students (say Boston) or tech entrepreneurs (Austin), being in a location that has some kind of culture that floats your boat…can go a long way towards helping singles engage in activities beyond work. In addition to the prospect of good jobs and culture, the availability of various sporting and outdoor pursuits is also key.” — Sharon Sassler – Professor; Director of Undergraduate Studies, The Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, Cornell University

When, if ever, is it appropriate to ask someone you are dating about their finances, including their credit score and amount of debt?

“I would say it probably depends on the seriousness of the relationship. Clearly, before any type of formal partnership, like a marriage, is going to take place, it is a good idea to know what sort of financial effect that partnership is likely to have on you. The more financially interdependent you are with someone, the more relevant it likely is going to be. Before that, though, the issue to address is how relevant it is to the dating relationship. If it is relevant, then it can certainly be discussed, but like all personal topics, whether the other person has an interest in sharing (and also feels it is relevant) could affect how well that conversation goes and the degree to which it affects the relationship. So, perhaps it is better to discuss whether it is relevant before jumping into the actual discussion of the topic.” — Matthew J. Grawitch, Ph.D. – Director, Strategic Research, Saint Louis University

“Talking about money is often quite a challenge, and my view is that if you are casually dating you do not really need this information. If, however, you and your partner are talking about moving in together, you should discuss how you intend to manage your money responsibilities before moving in. Knowing how you and a partner feel about money – is it to be saved for a rainy day or used to enjoy the present, for example; are you working to pay off education loans or deferring them until later (and allowing interest to build) – may help you decide if living together is actually the best move. Couples where one partner wants to pinch pennies while the other partner is fine with carrying a lot of credit card debt often argue quite a bit, as they have to constantly manage discomfort and arguments over spending habits. That is not to say that they should not be together – but they may need to discuss how they will weather their different attitudes towards money. — Sharon Sassler – Professor; Director of Undergraduate Studies, The Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, Cornell University

What tips do you have for saving money when dating?

“Dating is ideally an opportunity to get to know another person and to assess whether one’s personality, preferences, and priorities are a good match. Nature provides a natural mental health boost, and outdoor activities like going on a hike, beach walk, or having a picnic, are relatively low-cost dates. Ultimately, of course, money isn’t the only ‘cost’ singles should take into consideration. Dating can be a chance to have meaningful conversations, and better understand each other’s values and preferences so that you do not end up in an unhealthy or undesirable relationship, which could have a much bigger ‘cost’ in the long run. In other words, it is better to spend the time and money needed upfront, with many more potential rewards in the long term.” — Maryam Kia-Keating, Ph.D. – Professor; Chair, Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara

“Dating is supposed to be about getting to know someone, not about blowing big bucks on a fancy dinner. Doing the fancy dinner thing can be fun – but unless you want your dates sizing you up to determine whether (or not) you are a good provider, one should not expect to have to spend big bucks while dating…From figuring out what one can do on a date – going to the observatory on a Friday night to check out the stars, doing a rock climbing or wall climbing training, finding a free walking tour…, taking salsa dancing classes, doing a free morning yoga routine, going to free concerts, there are a lot of ways singles can date that will not cost them the big bucks. And while it may sound corny, making someone a meal – even if one is not a great cook – can be far more romantic than going out to a restaurant…Honestly, if singles select good cities in which to live, there should be lots to do on a budget.” — Sharon Sassler – Professor; Director of Undergraduate Studies, The Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, Cornell University

For the full report, please go here.

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