Louisiana Has the Highest Share of Single Adults
When it comes to love, some consult psychics. Others take matters into their own hands by swiping on Tinder. Then there are the personal finance folks at WalletHub, whoturn their data-driven minds toward the topic of dating. In their recent report, titled "2021's Best and Worst States for Singles," WalletHub took a break from calculating credit scores to crunch the facts and figures that go into romance.
WalletHub's findings show the top-ranked state for singles is Florida (dubious). Texas ranked second (doubtful). Pennsylvania is third (???). And as for the Bayou State? Well, Louisiana's overall score for singles ranked below average, clocking in at #36 out of all 50 states. "But wait!" you say. "At the top of this article, it just told me that Louisiana has the highest share of single adults! How is it that the state with the most eligible people wound up with such a subpar rating for dating?" Excellent question. Just like love itself, WalletHub's calculations that go into romance are more complex than meets the eye. Let's break it down.
WalletHub's formula is organized into three categories: Dating Economics, Dating Opportunities, and Romance and Fun. Dating Economics means such things as the average price of drinks, the median annual income, and the underemployment rate—you know, the financial price and possibility of dating. Next, Dating Opportunities honed in on how many singles were around, how many people were online dating, and COVID-19 restrictions. And finally, Romance and Fun determined things including how many restaurants, bars, and movie theaters there are per capita (these settings for a date might be cliché, but we're all a little cliché).
On WalletHub's infographic, the first place Louisiana's date-ability score took a hit was due to the fact that we ranked as having the "fewest online-dating opportunities." Interestingly, their metric for this is not how many Louisianans have dating profiles. Rather, online-dating opportunities are dependent upon the percentage of broadband internet. Not having broadband could be a personal choice that people are making (constant emails and infinite scrolling isn't for everyone), but we have to wonder how tied in this factor is to the next big factor that brings down Louisiana's score: We ranked near the bottom for median household income, even after adjustments for cost of living are made.
What does median household income have to do with relationships? According to WalletHub writer Adam McCann, "Cost will be a big factor. In states with low cost of living, for instance, your income might stretch a lot further, which means cheaper or more frequent dates." Checks out, right? We don't want no scrubs. TLC didn't lie—scrubs are a thing, but Louisiana's low median household income is a symptom of something larger. In 2019, The Hill reported that income inequality in the United States had reached an all-time high since data collection began. According to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the 2012 minimum wage should have been $21.72, if it had any relation to worker productivity. Nine years later, and Louisiana's minimum wage is still at that stagnant $7.25 an hour. The uneven distribution of wealth between the richest and the poorest is so impossible to ignore that it appears in surveys about love. Oh, the heartbreak.
WalletHub's survey is imperfect—perhaps most evident in their cute little graphic of the feminine and masculine symbols, balanced on a scale next to a statistic that says Louisiana ranks 4th in "highest gender balance of singles." There's nothing inherently wrong there, but it does suggest a bias towards heterosexuality. Despite that assumption, WalletHub's survey is fascinating. While crushes might strike at random, it turns out that dating has far more complicated financial factors involved. As if the little things, like deciding where to get dinner, weren't hard enough.