For singles the new year means a new year of opportunity to find the perfect partner, or at least a few quick flings. But location can be as important as anything for finding that just-right mix of attractiveness and chemistry. With that in mind, The Daily Beast ranks the 25 best cities for dating. To find them, we combined three main components using the most recent data available, by generating z-scores for each datapoint:
Available singles: Using summary Census data from 2008 to 2010, we took into account the percentage of men who are single (never married, divorced, or widowed) over age 15, and the percentage of women over age 15 who are single; we also accounted for the percentage of total singles in each city. The cities that performed the best had a roughly equal percentage of single men and women, and a high percentage of overall singles.
Dating costs: Using cost-of-living data from the third quarter of 2011 and average-salary data for nonfamily households (people living alone or with nonrelatives) from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The cities that performed best had a relatively high average salary for singles and a low overall cost of living, freeing up more cash for dating.
Mental and physical health: Using the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which measures emotional and physical health, among other things—a city with healthy residents is a city where people are going to be more open to putting themselves out on the dating scene.
Finally, we used Google Trends to measure the popularity of five major dating websites: Match.com, eHarmony.com, okCupid.com, Plentyoffish.com, and Zoosk.com. A sliding scale of bonus points were given to cities that ranked in the top 10 for each website.