How is this distribution of single people possible?

I was looking at a singles map of America here, and if you use the slider bars to put the ages between 25 and 44, you see overwhelmingly more surpluses of guys, all over the nation.

How is this distribution of single people possible? I thought the US was supposed to have rough gender parity at most ages below 75, meaning any local surplus of guys should be roughly counterbalanced by a surplus of girls elsewhere. Yet you clearly don’t see that on the map. So how is this distribution possible? Is it because more women in that age range get married than men in that age range? Mass emigration of eligible young women of a certain age? Mass immigration of eligible men that age? What gives??

I am curious about this too. If you adjust the map to show 20-29 it is even more pronounced.

It’s called lying.

Older men marrying younger women.

I can’t see the interactive version of your map, but if you look at this data on median age at first marriage, that looks plausible.

Older men and younger women are more likely to pair off than younger men and older women, so both younger men and older women are looking at a scarcity of potential mates, at least in the heterosexual crowd.

Simple example: Consider a heterosexual mating pool of 10 men in their 40’s, 10 women in their 40’s, 10 men in their 20’s, and 10 women in their 20’s.

If half of each age group pairs off with members of the same age group, and three fortysomething men pair with three twentysomething women, then there are five single twentysomething men and only two single twentysomething women left. And the ratio’s reversed for men and women in their forties.

So unless the male twentysomethings and female fortysomethings are willing to pair with each other, they’ve both got significantly reduced odds of finding a mate.

Sure enough, you’re right. Playing around with it more, if you set the age range to 35-64, you see a sea of pink everywhere, indicating a surplus of older single women.


Of course, if the pattern of older men marrying younger women has been in place for a while, the older women will be already married, so they’re not exactly missing out. Those surplus women you’re seeing in the older age range are probably largely widows or divorcees, not never-marrieds.

When women are young, beautiful, and fertile everyone wants them and they get snatched up quickly. Thus you see many more single youngish men than women. Then when you start skewing up you see dramatically more single older women, because their husbands dump the old hags and marry another young woman. Makes perfect sense. :stuck_out_tongue:

Where is the interactive map?

The interactive map is in the link in the first post, or here:

According to the notes, he’s only using the ‘single, never-married’ numbers.

Markxxx, it’s a Java map. Do you have Java installed? (Possibly you’ll have to wait for it to load & start. It should be at the top of the page).




I think I misunderstood his use of ‘never’. I didn’t actually check the numbers to make sure.

American women on average also live longer than men, further skewing the ratio towards women in the older age groups. There are more widows than widowers, and among never-married folks the confirmed bachelors will tend to die younger than their female counterparts.

Also, the birth ratio is not 50-50; there’s a slight surplus of boys (at birth, about 105 boys for every 100 girls). The ratio changes with age, since men die younger. The surpluses on the graph are very small; for the interval 25-44 the largest surplusses are on the order of 50 per 1000, which is about the birth ratio. That, in fact, may be the entire explanation.

As other have noted, more boys than girls are born. The ratio reaches 50/50 at around age 36. If you dial up the mid 30’s, the graph indeed shows a mixed bag.

I think he’s wrong that the data he’s using defines single as “never married” by the way. The results for the elderly just look like what you’d expect: widows.