Thursday, December 3, 2009

Can US census data help guide a dating strategy?


But I will leave most of that to you.

I recently saw a fascinating blog entitled "An Older Woman, A Younger Man" by mathematician Tanya Khovanova. She uses US Census data to figure out what her dating outlook is, since she is 50-year old single woman seeking to enter the circuit again.

She starts out with a thesis:
We know that boys are born more often than girls, and men die earlier than women. Somewhere around age 30 the proportion in [the] population switches from more boys to more girls. And it gets more skewed with age. So there’s a deficit of older men. In addition, a big part of the population is married, making the disproportions in singles group more pronounced. So I decided to look at the numbers to see how misshaped the dating scene is.
I plotted the ratio of single men to women from the table she diligently assembled for easier visualization, as below.

You can do all sorts of "data-mining" with these figures. For example, she uses the data to figure out that if she dates a randomly chosen single man, she has a 3/4 chance of picking someone younger than her (you need the absolute numbers from her entry to figure that out).

This means that if I am a 30 year old man trying to marry someone my age, I face a much harder scene, than if I were a 50 year old man trying to do the same.

Also, a woman under 40 years of age, looking to marry someone younger than her, and a man over the age of 40, looking to marry someone older than him have statistics loaded in their favor.

No comments: