Single women looking for a partner should move to the City of London, while men in search of love have the best chance of finding a girlfriend in Knowsley, in Merseyside, according to a major new study released today which maps the hotspots for singletons across the country.
He research, by the Future Foundation think tank, reveals a national "singles gap" when it comes to town and country. For a higher proportion of single women live in urban areas while there is a surplus of single men in the countryside. Nationally, a higher proportion of single women aged 18-64 live in urban areas, at 99 per 100 men. And the biggest surplus of single men is in rural areas, at 103 for every 100 women.
The analysis is based on the most recently available census figures for England and Wales and national survey data. It presents a fuller picture of the numbers of single people, and where they are, than official figures from the Office for National Statistics, which assumes people are single if they aren’t married or living together.
Although the two biggest hotspots for single men are in the capital, with 155 men per 100 women in the City of London, and 126 men per 100 women in the borough of Newham, a higher ratio of single men to women can be found in rural areas, such as the Isles of Scilly (119 per 100), Forest Heath, Suffolk (117 per 100), and Copeland, Cumbria (115 per 100). The top hotspots for single females are Knowsley, Merseyside, with 120 women per 100 men, and the London boroughs of Enfield (116 per 100) and Wandsworth (114 per 100). Others include Barking and Dagenham, Chichester and Bromley – all of which have 113 single women per 100 men.
Over the next decade, the singles gap in rural areas could widen according to the report, commissioned by dating website eHarmony. Billy Nelson, lead researcher at the Future Foundation, told The Independent: “The uneven spread of single men and women across the country is caused by a combination of economic and demographic factors. The pursuit of economic opportunities is thought to explain why more young rural women move to urban areas than young rural men; and with women outperforming men academically, we may be seeing more women than ever move to cities, where there are more degree-qualified careers.”
Across the country, there are 67,000 more single men than there are women without partners. The difference is most apparent in the 18-34 age group, where there is a surplus of some 338,000 single men – this is due to women tending to enter relationships at a younger age, according to researchers. But the situation is reversed when it comes to those aged 35-64, with more single women – 271,000 – than men who are unattached.
This is reflected in the general demographics of the population, commented Mr Nelson: “Because the single population is heavily male at the youngest end and heavily female at the older end, this means that areas with relatively young populations tend to have a greater surplus of single men, while areas with older populations tend to have a greater surplus of single women.”