Boston Is a Mediocre Town for Spouse Hunting

The Pew Research Center crunched the data on the country's most favorable cities for marriage prospects.

If you’re between the ages of 25 to 34 and you live in Boston, chances are you’ve thought about whether this could be the city where you meet your future spouse—you know, that special somebody with whom there’s a 50-50 chance you’ll spend the rest of your life. So hey, what are your odds? Is Boston really the best city for spouse-hunting?

The Pew Research Center crunched the numbers, and as it turns out, no, Boston isn’t your best bet. But nor is it the worst city for husband/wife-hunting. The Pew Research Center looked at the ratio between men and women living in the largest U.S. metro areas. Then, on the assumption that you don’t want to marry into a single-income household, they looked at the ratio of employed men and employed women in the largest U.S. metro areas.

Heterosexual ladies, here’s the deal. In Boston, for every 100 women between the ages of 25 and 34, there are 86 employed men. So if it’s a surefire wedding you want, you’re probably better off moving to a city like San Jose, California, where that ratio is 114 single, employed young men for every 100 women. And whatever you do, avoid Memphis, where there are just 59 guys pulling down a paycheck for every 100 women.

Heterosexual dudes? It’s actually worse around here. There are 74 employed single women for every 100 single men in Boston. So if you’re trying to get hitched to a working woman, head to Lewiston-Auburn, Maine, where there are 99 such ladies for every 100 single guys. Whatever you do, don’t go to the Hanford-Corocoran, California, region, where there are just 24 employed and eligible women for every 100 men on the market.

Of course, these numbers make marriage seem like a particularly dire game of musical chairs. (100 brides but only 86 grooms. When the music stops, you better be standing at an altar!) The reality is more complex. According to Pew’s poll, only about half, or 53 percent, of never-wedded Americans would like to eventually get married. Furthermore, not everyone is focused on their future spouse’s job prospects:

And among never-married women interested in marriage, 78% said that it is “very important” to them that a potential spouse has a steady job (only 46% of never-married men said the same).

So probably best not to game it. Certainly don’t do something as drastic as uprooting your life to move to a city with a more favorable ratio. As we said, Boston isn’t the best city for either men or women, but neither is it the worst. Chances are, if marrying’s your aim, you’ll do just fine.