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Seattle Times news librarian Gene Balk crunches the numbers

December 18, 2012 at 6:45 AM

What are Seattle’s least likely places to spot wedding bands?

Poster from the 1992 Seattle-based film “Singles”

Singles, here’s a question for you: is Seattle a hard town to meet someone?

Demographically speaking, it shouldn’t be that bad.  Of America’s 50 largest cities, Seattle has the 16th highest percentage of singles, according to the most recent Census Bureau estimates.  In fact, single folks are the majority of the city’s population — 55 percent of Seattle adults are single.

So yes, they’re out there.  But that doesn’t mean they’re easy to meet. Traditional methods for singles to find each other — through friends, family, work or school — don’t always pan out. Increasingly, single folks are looking online, and more so in Seattle than many places; we rank sixth out of 96 metro areas in the U.S. for the percentage of singles using online personal ads, according to market data firm Scarborough Research.  Online dating has its success stories, but also its share of pitfalls.  Anyone who has tried it can entertain you with tales of disaster dates who didn’t look anything like their profile photo and who shaved a decade or two off their real age.

While online dating might be worth a shot, perhaps there actually is something to the conventional wisdom that you’re most likely to meet someone when you aren’t really looking.  A recent study by researchers at Princeton University found that a significant percentage of married and partnered couples, both straight and gay, met each other through chance encounters, just around the neighborhood or in some public place.  And that’s not so surprising, because it really isn’t that hard to strike up a conversation with an attractive stranger when the opportunity presents itself — browsing titles at a bookshop, in line at the ATM or the movies, waiting for a table at a restaurant, inspecting the produce at the supermarket, or just about anywhere.

Of course, you can’t plan for these kind of random encounters — but you can try to play the odds. And with that in mind, I used local market research data to uncover some places around Seattle where, for whatever reasons, single men and single women are most likely to be found.   The places are listed in the chart below, and each is assigned an index score — move your cursor over the bars to see the exact numbers. The greater the number, the greater the likelihood of finding a single man or single woman in that place. A negative number, though, means the likelihood is below average.  Most of the places have a high concentration of either single men or single women, but a few of the locales turned out to be hot spots for both sexes.

[do action=”singles”][/do]
Source: Scarborough Research

Something to think about next time you’re waiting in one of those long lines at SIFF or a Top Pot cafe. And if you do work up the nerve to start chatting with a stranger in any of the above places, at least the odds are in your favor that the stranger will be single, too.

Good luck out there.

Comments | More in Demographics, Market Research | Topics: dating, marital status, Seattle


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