___________________________________*An important note about the two graphs: The city data is from the ACS 2011 three-year estimates, which collect figures from 2009 through 2011.
Across the United States today, young women are much more likely to graduate from college than their male peers, a trend that's been compounding itself for a few decades now.
And because college graduates overwhelmingly tend to date other college graduates, that's created an enormous imbalance in the national dating pool. According to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, there are 33 percent more women in Portland who are under the age of 35 and have at least a bachelor's degree in than there are men.
But could the mere fact that Portland has thousands upon thousands of surplus, college educated women be enough to keep men like Jacob from settling down?
It's not meant to be a silly question--after all, much of this probably just comes down to personality.
And in an interesting, gender-equitable twist, research on China has found that women there are more likely to sneak away for extramarital sex in communities with too many men.**With those findings in mind, it seems reasonable to suggest that instead of pointing a finger at the internet for Jacob's relationship habits, we can keep things simple and just blame Portland, where going to a bar, going to a concert, or even going to work would probably leave him surrounded by available women. In truth, my goal here isn't to convince you beyond reasonable doubt that sex-ratios are turning young, educated American adults into commitment-phobes.
Better yet, not only could the city's sex-ratio explain why he finds himself dating so many different women, but it might also clarify why so many different women are willing to date him: scarce alternatives. Someone who wanted to could probably marshall enough contradictory social science research to mount a good counterargument to the idea.
Other studies have had similar findings across cultures and time.
A look at immigrant communities in early 20th century America found that as the proportion of men on the market went up, so did marriage rates for both males and females. S., academics have found that female college students are less likely to have a boyfriend or go on traditional dates, and are more likely to have bad feelings about the men on campus, at schools that enroll disproportionate number of women.
**If any of this research sounds familiar to you, it may be because Kate Bolick reviewed some of it in "All the Single Ladies." My overall argument here is, of course, somewhat somewhat inspired by hers.
I was excited to see some great conversation happening in the comments of my piece “Top 3 Mistakes Men Make in Online Dating.” Both men and women shared their experiences with online dating and debated over the mistakes and fixes I offered in the piece.
We're complicated creatures, and as Alexis Madrigal wrote earlier this week, it's both a bit myopic and ahistorical to believe that most technology is capable of single-handedly warping our behavior.