There may be plenty of fish in the sea, but the actual number of potential suitors could be much smaller than you think when you consider age, education, geography, attractiveness and a litany of other factors.
That’s the finding of a new semi-scientific calculator created by Globe Life, which uses real data from Statistics Canada (and a little cheeky guesstimation) to calculate the likelihood you’ll meet Mr. or Ms. Right in your city.
It includes nearly 3,800 cities and town with 158 data points each, sourced mostly from Canada’s National Household Survey.
So how many potential dates are waiting for you?
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In most Canadian towns, twentysomethings looking for love could be limited to just a few dozen people, especially if they’re looking for a beau who’s reasonably attractive and university-educated. In larger cities such as Toronto, that figure rises to a few thousand. Considering there’s roughly 2.5 million people in the city, it’s relative slim pickings.
Using data in the emotionally-charged dating world is not new. It’s the secret behind the algorithms that power online dating websites, which use questionnaires and demographic data points to match you with the right people.
Amy Webb, a Baltimore-based journalist and CEO of Webbmedia Group, wrote a book called Data, A Love Story about using data to find her own perfect match online. She began her quest by running a calculation to find out how many matches were in her city of 1.5 million. The result? Just 35 potential suitors.
In an interview with The Globe, Webb said singles can use a more targeted approach and act like job-hunters.
“If you’re looking for a job, most people don’t just wander around and hope that a job just bumps into them. They revise their résumé, they do a pinpointed search, they customize different résumés for pinpointed jobs,” she said.
That’s how Webb conducted her online search several years ago. She settled on 72 individual characteristics, scoring each suitor on a 100-point scale. And yes, she married one of her matches.
Of course, data makes a poor substitute for Cupid’s arrow and only goes so far in predicting your potential love story. “There is only so much you can glean from census data, and that shouldn’t be the only predictive measure for finding somebody,” Webb said.
The Globe’s calculation includes data on age, education level, gender and race from the National Household Survey – which replaced the long-form census in 2011 – and combines it with rough estimates on attractiveness and the number of single people to determine a final figure.
The Globe collected data from the National Household Survey. The calculation begins by determining the number of people within your selected geographical area. We then calculate the number of people with the matching sex(es) specified. We calculate same-sex partners based on an overall rate of two per cent of the population. Ages are provided by the NHS in ranges, so we divide each range by the number of ages therein, then multiply it by the matching ages specified. For example, the NHS provides the age range of "25 to 29." If your specified age range was 28 to 29, we would take divide the total population for "25 to 29" by matching gender, divide that by five (five years between 25 and 29), then multiply that by two (the years 28 and 29). All matches from the 65+ age range were used. Calculations education are performed the same way. We calculate the percentage of race from the entire population of the selected city or town by gender to determine how prevalent that race is in the population, then apply that by the number of matches so far. Next, those results are multi plied by level of attractiveness, from 20 to 90 per cent. Finally, we calculate the number of people from that sample who are single using the Canada-wide average of 43 per cent of men and 37 per cent of women.