The male/female ratio of online dating
One of the facts of online dating is that there are more men than women online. For example, Match.com recently told ABC News that 59% of their subscribers are men and 41% are women. You can confirm the ratio yourself by doing searches for profiles.
The high male/female ratio of online dating is not the fault of the online dating services, but it reflects the unfortunate realities of the real world. Over a decade ago I recall reading a New York Times article that stated that there were approximately 6 single men in their twenties for every five single women.
How is this possible? Aren't there an approximately equal number of boy and girl babies born each year? The biggest contributor to the skewed ratio is serial polygamy. A man in his twenties marries a woman in her twenties, then in his thirties he divorces her and marries another woman in her twenties, then in his forties he marries another women in her twenties. This happens. I have a friend who's in his fifties and his current wife is in her twenties.
There is also parallel polygamy. I woman I know, when she was in her twenties, knew a guy who had two girlfriends at the same time (neither, of course, knew of the other one's existence). And at the same time he was also hitting on her, trying to bring his harem up to three!
What's going on in the real world is reflected in the virtual world of online dating. In fact, it's skewed worse than in the real world, because online dating sites attract a much greater percentage of people who have trouble finding dates. So not only will there be more men, there will be more undesirable (for whatever reasons) members of both sexes.
Men who use online dating services will initially try to contact the few women they are interested in. But because the desirable women receive more emails than they can respond to, male subscribers eventually figure out that they have to send out massive numbers of emails because the response rate is so low. So we wind up in the situation we're in now. Female subscribers to online dating services receive more emails than they can respond to, and male subscribers send out large numbers of emails and rarely get a response.
Women actually complain about this, but I think they are in a far better situation than men. If you are a man, how do you fix the problem? The answer is that you need to move to Manhattan. There are more single women in Manhattan than men. If you do searches in Match.com for Manhattan, you will find about 50% more female profiles than male profiles. The opposite of the ratio for the rest of the United States.
Living in Manhattan and using Match.com, I've been quite happy with how many women respond to my emails. And being a nerdy IT professional, I'm not a high priority catch for most women. They'd rather be going out with the good looking athletic men. You also get to meet women of a caliber you'd never find in Phoenix, Arizona, like graduates of Harvard and Yale law schools.
posted August 10, 2005