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Why It’s So Hard to Find Your Mate

by | Aug 2, 2013 | Information

With all the men in the world, why does it seem so hard to find one guy worth it to date?

Because it is.

Consider the following:

* If you’re a guy, simply switch the genders.

** For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume we would only date people we’d consider marrying.

Religion is important to me, so I would want to marry someone who shares and supports my faith. In my case, that’s Christianity. About 1/3 of the world’s 7 billion population is Christian. To keep things simple, let’s round that number to 2 billion people.

Of those 2 billion, half are men. So that leaves me 1 billion guys to choose from. Quite a selection pool, no? We’ll see.

Most of us would want to marry people fairly close to ourselves in age — let’s say, plus or minus five years. That gives us a 10-year span to work with. The average life span in the US is 79 years. Again, for simplicity’s sake, we’ll round that number to 80 years. That means that only 1/8 of the male population fits into my age parameter (80 ÷ 10). That reduces my available selection to approximately 125 million (1 billion x 1/8) men.

Okay, well, that still seems like a lot, doesn’t it? But wait! Chances are extremely good that the person we want to marry will need to come from our own country. In my case, that’s the good old USA. Well, America is home to about 300 million people, while the Earth holds about 7 billion. That means that America is home to about 1/25 of the Earth’s population.

Our 125 million selection pool was a global number, so since only 1/25 of that will be located in my home country, my possible choices are reduced to only 5 million men.

(Wow, he really is one in a million!)

Okay, so far we’ve looked at gender, age, and country. But most of us have “types” we’re attracted to and types we are not (aspects like body build, hair color, race, etc. influence us all). I’ll be generous and say that for every 7* guys in our admittedly diminished pool, only one of them will fit our style.

* If you’re not that picky, 1 in 5 is probably a better estimate. If you’re highly preferenced, perhaps 1 in 10. Therefore, 1 in 7 is a good median for this post.

5 million x 1/7 leaves us with approximately 700,000 fellows.

It doesn’t stop there, though. Most people admit that education plays a role in their choice of prospective mate. For me, that would mean he would need to be a college graduate or higher. Approximately 40% of Americans graduate college.

Uh oh, my selection pool is down to only 280,000!

So far my only considerations have been: gender, age, country, general physical preference, and education (five factors!), yet I’ve reduced the number of potential dates from billions down to thousands. That’s not even taking into consideration other important aspects like personality, interests, culture, etc.

Now for the really fun part — just how many people do we have to meet before we find one worthy to date? With a US population of 3 million, we’d have to encounter over 1,000 people (300,000,000 ÷ 280,000) before we’d find one even potentially worth going out with! Ever play Where’s Waldo?

Another Look: Dates per Mile

Just for fun, we can look at our dating difficulties based on mileage, too. While a “date per mile” model is nowhere near as accurate as a “date per population” one due to some areas being sparsely populated whereas others are very dense, it’s still fun to think about!

For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume a uniform population distribution across the United States. There are approximately 3,800,000 square miles of land in the USA. That means that there is only 1 qualified guy for every 13.5 square miles (3,800,000 ÷ 280,000) of US soil. Throw in some of the other factors we’ve mentioned, and the miles per male grow even larger.

How large is your city or town? Mine is one of the larger cities in my state and is about 18 square miles. That means there are only two men (18*18 ÷ 13.5*13.5 – rounding up, since unlike the U.S. Census Bureau, I don’t count fractional people) in my entire city that I would even consider dating, let alone marrying.

Two men. In a city of thousands.

Sometimes I hate math.