Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue Aug 4th 2009 at 10:04am UTC

The Singles’ Ratio

I continue to be astounded by the unrelenting interest in “singles maps” and singles ratios. A bluntly┬átitled blog devoted to San Francisco’s lop-sided gender ratio cites this 2007 study (and an earlier 1991 one) which identified a┬ásingles’ tipping point of sorts. The study found that:

[A]s the sex ratio augmented in favor of women, at first, as you would expect, the women simply turned fussy and went for richer and more powerful men. But at a certain point a curious thing happened: the amount of socioeconomic status a guy needed to get girl increased way more than the math would predict. Specifically when the ratio was tilted in favor of women by 10%, low status men became not 10% less likely to get a girl but 200-300% less likely and high status men 30% less likely.

In other words, increase the number of males in a system too much and the number of females interested in pairing up GOES DOWN, due to some mysterious psychological trigger. Women won’t pick and choose, they won’t choose at all. They abandon the enterprise. Romance dies. Society crumbles. Imagine a bar with 100 girls and 100 guys. The bouncer admits 10 more guys and competitively speaking it’s as if, for the low status guys, 130 guys walked into the room (and for the high status guys, 30 guys). The bar might as well close for the night.

4 Responses to “The Singles’ Ratio”

  1. Justin Kownacki Says:

    So, technically, the cities on various magazines’ annual “Best Cities for Singles” should instead be vying to be named “Most Balanced Gender Ratio”… unless those cities *are* the most balanced. (Minus variations for homosexuality, bisexuality, nuns…)

  2. Michael Wells Says:

    The bar might as well close for the night…?

    Seems to me the bar might do more business. More guys buying women drinks and trying to impress them. More guys giving up and getting drunk. More women sitting together sipping wine and analyzing Sex & the City or career strategies.

    Unless all the women get disgusted and leave (alone). Then they turn on the TV to ESPN and sell lots of beer.

  3. Cliff Lippard Says:

    avoiding buyer’s remorse?

  4. Andrew Meyer Says:

    The flip side to this equation is what happens in situations where women outnumber men. Think Columbia (as in Columbia, South America.)

    I’m not saying that the situation changes in ways that are beneficial for society as a whole, but they are very beneficial for the men.

    I don’t have academic studies to confirm this, just my own empirical field research. God I love research…