Best cities to go for singles

Key takeaways

  • San Francisco was the highest-ranked city for singles based on the Cinch Singles Index Score (78.9).
  • Boston, Massachusetts, had the highest percentage of singles within its population at 57.3%.
  • 30% of individuals who experienced a breakup moved to a new city following their separation, while 47.5% went on a trip following their breakup.
Surveys

Places to be for singles

For some, being single is a time of self-discovery, empowerment, and freedom. For others, it's lonely and perhaps a waiting period for the next non-single moment. Whichever camp you fall into, why not be in that single period in the best possible physical location? Especially now that there's data to tell you where that location is.

Our team recently extracted thousands of data points to generate exactly that: a definitive list of the best places to be single. We considered which cities have the most single people, which cities have the best rent for single living and which cities offer the most leisure activities, or opportunities to meet one another. We even spoke directly to more than 500 people with breakup experience to ask how they handled their newfound single life, geographically speaking. If you're curious about where the data says to go as a single, keep reading.

Starting point for singles

The exhaustive research we've accumulated adds a new vantage point for the conversation around where it's best to be single. The Cinch Singles Index considered this question based on four dimensions: percentage of the population that's single, monthly wages, rent for a one-bedroom residence and quality and quantity of leisure locations. The top 25 and bottom 25 cities based on this data are listed below.

Top cities for singles

San Francisco ranked first as the number one city to be single in 2021. This means that San Francisco had the best average score, overall, for the number of other singles, wages, one-bedroom rent and quality and quantity of leisurely offerings. The fact that this city has notoriously high rental prices (some of the highest in the world) should tell you just how many other singles and activities are available to meet and try, respectively. With breathtaking views around every corner, incredible landmarks and apparently tons of singles, San Francisco may just be a single person's best bet. The city is also notoriously gay-friendly, which opens even more doors.

Chicago, Illinois, also scored extremely high for single living. With its museums, architecture and food, the Windy City may just blow something great your way. If you don't want roommates, its one-bedroom apartments are relatively affordable, and their median wages are strong as well. Roughly 62% of the Chicago population is also considered to be single.

Moving toward the East Coast, Atlanta, Georgia, also offered promising opportunities for singles. With mild winters and an affordable cost of living, you may have the cash and the weather you need to enjoy quality dates year-round. New York City would be prime for singles looking to cook fresh, home-cooked meals on the regular, with the largest selection of farmers markets. That said, Boston and Philadelphia – two cold and expensive locations – also offered plenty of perks for singles. Keep reading to see what those may be.

The most single cities

The next part of our study looks strictly at the numbers game, i.e., how many other singles are in your area. Focusing on just the 100 most populous cities in the U.S., we assess which cities have the most singles, the most single men, the most single women and the most singles by each age bracket.

Cities with the most singles

Boston has the most singles, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With prestigious schools like Harvard and MIT in the area, you can also expect to find a few well-educated, tech-savvy singles here as well. A previous study also found this city to be good for singles due to its high percentage of areas with internet access, a key ingredient in the modern dating scene. Men made up the highest percentage of singles in this area.

Washington, D.C., also had a high number of singles, ranking second out of the top 100 most populous cities. D.C. clearly offers singles plenty of other fish in the sea, but it also ranks very high for dating satisfaction, meaning people who went on dates there often ended up pleased with the experience.

If you're under the age of 44, however, and you're looking to focus exclusively on how many other single people are in your area, you'll want to consider Detroit, Michigan. This city had more singles under the age of 44 than any other city we studied. Once you hit age 55, however, Washington, D.C., would be a better bet, again speaking strictly of numbers of other singles in that age bracket.

Financing single life

Without a dual income, some financial considerations are specific to singles that are more affordable in some locations. The following research looks at the best cities for singles based on wage, rent and wage-to-rent ratios.

Best cities for singles, by financials*

If you're single and want to save the most you possibly can on rent, look no further than Toledo, Ohio. This city only costs an average of $687 each month for a one-bedroom. If you want to spend less than $1,000, you can also consider Tucson, Arizona; Lubbock, Texas; or Buffalo, New York. Any other populous city will bill you more than that.

If you're single and want to make as much in wages as you possibly can, San Francisco may well be the place. This city offers an average monthly wage of nearly $8,000 –higher than any other city on our list. Even New York City saw a serious decrease in wages from San Francisco.

But the real question comes down to each city's wage-to-rent ratio, which shows what percent of a person's wage they're having to give to rent. St. Louis, Missouri, was found to be the most lucrative option here, with a wage-to-rent ratio of 3.79. In other words, the amount you make in St. Louis is often nearly four times what your rent payments are. On the other hand, Jersey City will take nearly all of what you make in wages to live there.

Meet-and-greet hot spots

If you're single and looking to meet a romantic interest or even just friends, you may want to consider venues like museums, bars, beaches and bookstores. Or maybe music venues could help kindle the flame. Whatever your leisurely preferences, the chart below indicates the best cities for each.

Top cities by leisure location rating

To meet your new love interest at an art museum or a winery, Seattle is your best bet. This city ranked number one on Yelp's API in these areas. The Seattle Art Museum is conveniently located next to Pike Place Market, offering the perfect rainy-day itinerary for you and your date. If quirkier establishments are what you're looking for, then the Seattle Pinball Museum or the Pacific Science Center may be more up your alley.

If you tend to come alive at night, consider Houston, which has the best quality nightlife of any city, according to Yelp Fusion API. Houston also ranked first for coffee roasters, where you and your date can come back to life the following day.

If you're more of an intellectual or envision a meet-cute at a bookstore, landmark or historical building, Minneapolis, Minnesota, may just be where your soulmate is waiting. James and Mary Laurie Booksellers specialize in hard-to-find items, which may also describe your new love interest. Eat My Words even offers a locals section, increasing your chances of meeting someone who's staying in town. As far as landmarks go, the Mall of America is based here – perhaps the perfect spot for a long daytime date.

Moving on

If you've recently experienced a breakup, you may need additional support from your surroundings as you transition into single life. Speaking to 506 people experienced with breakups, we found out the most important criteria for new cities to live in and what they seek from post-breakup trips.

Post-breakup travel

Relationship experts insist that changing up your routine and your environment can seriously help a person trying to get over a bad breakup. For some, that may mean moving altogether. After a breakup, 30% of respondents said they moved. Eighty percent of this group moved to an entirely new city, hence the need for this type of research.

The pandemic may have helped increase this trend of moving post-breakup. In fact, respondents were over twice as likely to move to an entirely new city during a pandemic breakup than they were before COVID-19 struck. With remote work becoming more common, moving doesn't necessarily entail a job loss as often as it would have beforehand. COVID-19 also caused major price fluctuations in living expenses, perhaps making a post-breakup move even more appealing.

Many respondents didn't need to move altogether but opted just for a getaway after their breakup. The pandemic made this type of trip even more common, in spite of travel restrictions. Most just wanted the time to relax (69.3%) or find a distraction (54.8%). Fortunately, these breakup vacations did the trick: 64.5% of respondents felt the trip accomplished exactly what they were looking for.

Best moves for singles

While the "best" move for someone single may actually be staying put, it's important to know that there are a lot of newfound opportunities out there. Our research presented strong cases for singles to move to cities like San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Seattle and others, all depending on what type of person you are. Even more during pandemic, singles considered and decided to make their new homes in new cities, particularly in newer states.

Whether you're moving or just needing a change of scenery, the last thing you want to be worried about is an emergency home repair in your new (or upgraded) surroundings. But Cinch Home Services is here to help. Cinch offers a fresh approach to home protection plans, based on your particular needs. Cinch helps maintain everything from your appliances to structures and built-in systems. If your surroundings need an upgrade or protection, head to cinchhomeservices.com today to see how we can help.

Methodology and limitations

In order to determine the Cinch Singles Index, Cinch compared the 100 most populous U.S. cities across three key dimensions: the percentage of singles within a city (based on 2019 U.S. Census Bureau data), financial data pertaining to wage and rent (based on average monthly salary post-tax and median one-bedroom rent prices inside each city from Numbeo) and leisure-based recreation activities (from Yelp Fusion API).

Across all three dimensions, seven specific metrics were used, which are respectively listed below. Each metric was measured on a scale from 0 to 100, with 100 representing the most favorable situation for singles and based on the maximum and/or minimum values observed from all cities.

Overall Singles Score – Total Points = 33

Overall Percentage of Singles (Full Weight = 16.5%)

Percentage of Single Men (Full Weight = 8.25%)

Percentage of Single Women (Full Weight = 8.25%)

Overall Financials Score – Total Points = 33

Average Monthly Salary Post-Tax (Full Weight = 16.5%)

Median One-Bedroom Rent Price (Full Weight = 16.5%)

Overall Yelp Score – Total Points = 33

Total Number of Leisure Locations (Full Weight = 16.5%)

Average Rating of Leisure Locations (Full Weight = 16.5%)

For the latter part of this study, we collected responses through Amazon MTurk from 506 respondents who have previously experienced a breakup. Of the 506 respondents, 46.6% were female, 53.2% were male and 0.2% identified as nonbinary. Additionally, the average age of respondents was 34.2 with a standard deviation of 10.4 years.

The main limitation of this part of the study is the reliance on self-report, which is faced with several issues such as, but not limited to, attribution, exaggeration, recency bias and telescoping. Data are solely representative of self-reported claims. This survey ran during January 2021.

Fair use statement

Singles need to stick together! If you think this information could help a fellow single or someone going through a breakup, you're welcome to share the data. Just be sure your purposes are noncommercial and that you link back to this page.

Related stories