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Most single young adults’ social lives were greatly impacted by the pandemic. But as people become more comfortable and find their new normal, they have discovered ways to dip into their local dating pool again. So what cities have the best social scenes right now? With high marks in affordability, excellent activity and entertainment options and, of course, lots of young people looking for love, these are the country’s 10 best cities for singles.
2022 best cities in the U.S. for singles
1. Austin, TX
- Population: 2,283,371
- Median age: 34.9 years old
- Percent of population that is single: 34.8%
Austin offers singles an endless supply of activities, from hiking and outdoor adventures to a legendary live music and bar scene. It also plays host to two of the country’s most respected music festivals, SXSW and Austin City Limits. Austin’s high quality of life and booming job market make it a great place to live overall, single or not — and with a young population that’s steadily increasing, your chances of meeting a love match here are high.
2. New Orleans, LA
- Population: 391,249
- Median age: 37.2 years old
- Percent of population that is single: 39.1%
History, art, music, food, culture: New Orleans is iconic. It’s also the most highly populated city in Louisiana, with nearly 40 percent of its citizens single. For those looking to meet someone, the French Quarter offers a mix of activities that brings in a diverse crowd. And of course, both Mardi Gras and JazzFest can be counted on to bring NOLA party people together year after year.
3. San Francisco, CA
- Population: 874,784
- Median age: 38.3 years old
- Percent of population that is single: 59%
Picturesque San Francisco is a perennial favorite — and especially popular with singles, who make up more than half its population. The city’s bayside location gives it a wide range of activities and attractions, from boating to seafood restaurants to the beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge. And its proximity to California wine country adds an extra layer of fun. Be warned, though: The cost of living in the entire Bay Area is high, and it’s a tough place for first-time homebuyers to compete.
4. Las Vegas, NV
- Population: 644,594
- Median age: 37.7 years old
- Percent of population that is single: 37%
Between residents and vacationing tourists, Las Vegas has no shortage of people. And with 37 percent of the population single, it’s easy to meet someone. The endless bars, hotels and casinos provide plenty of entertainment options. But there are lots of activities for non-high-rollers, too, and some — like the enormous and beautiful Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden — are even free.
5. Durham, NC
- Population: 317,665
- Median age: 35.5 years old
- Percent of population that is single: 55%
It’s no wonder Durham is great for singles: It’s a serious college town, home to Duke University. Plus it’s part of North Carolina’s “Research Triangle,” which also includes nearby UNC in Chapel Hill and NC State in Raleigh. In other words, it’s full of undergrads, graduate students and academics. (Not to mention sports fans!) There are also plenty of restaurants, bars and historic attractions where young singles can meet and mingle.
6. Detroit, MI
- Population: 624,177
- Median age: 34.7
- Percent of population that is single: 44%
The Motor City is the largest in Michigan and a music mecca, thanks to its fame as the birthplace of Motown. Although its population has been decreasing, Detroit is working hard to reposition itself as a young, hip and diverse city on the rise. It boasts a wide array of bars, entertainment options and restaurants, including many new gastropubs, burger bars and bistros. With these changes have come loads of opportunities for the city’s singles to socialize.
7. Miami, FL
- Population: 450,797
- Median age: 40.1 years old
- Percent of population that is single: 36.9%
Miami’s coastal setting makes it perfect for singles who love a mix of land and water activities. Whether you want to party on South Beach, go deep-sea fishing or attend the renowned Art Basel festival, Miami can deliver. More than a third of its population is single, and with the wide variety of things to do, the dating scene here is hot.
8. New York, NY
- Population: 8.93 million
- Median age: 36.7 years old
- Percent of population that is single: 39.8%
There are literally millions of singles in New York, the largest city in the U.S. There are probably millions of things to do in the “city that never sleeps” as well, from fine dining to Broadway to world-class museums to its many iconic tourist destinations. A diverse job market, which consists of industry-leading employers, continues to bring young people to the five boroughs despite New York’s high cost of living.
9. Boston, MA
- Population: 687,257
- Median age: 32.2 years old
- Percent of population that is single: 39.2%
Boston is known for baked beans, the Red Sox, the Boston Tea Party and so much more. Singles here — who account for nearly 40 percent of the city’s population — have access to fun, affordable activities year round, including the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Faneuil Hall Marketplace and countless historical sites. And its many colleges and universities mean there’s a diverse dating scene with someone for everyone.
10. Seattle, WA
- Population: 762,687
- Median age: 35.3 years old
- Percent of population that is single: 36.3%
Thanks to the Seattle tech scene and its abundant employment opportunities, the city has seen a population increase of 21 percent over the past decade. (Unfortunately, this has also led to an increase in Seattle’s cost of living.) Its location on Puget Sound is perfect for those interested in water activities, but there’s also the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, University of Washington and many other attractions that make great stomping grounds for local singles.
Bankrate’s editorial team analyzed various factors to compile our list of the best U.S. cities for singles. The criteria included census population data, the percentage of singles living in each city, the volume and quality of entertainment options and more.
According to the Census Bureau, as of 2021, there were more than 126 million unmarried people in the U.S. Pew Research Center data shows that 41 percent of the single population are between ages 18 and 29, 23 percent are between ages 30 and 49, 28 percent are between ages 50 and 64 and 36 percent are 65 or older.
It’s complicated. The IRS places married couples and single individuals into different tax brackets, both based on income. However, income earned by single people may be taxed at a higher percentage than the same amount of income earned by a married couple filing jointly. Married couples who file taxes jointly are often eligible for tax benefits that others are not.
The most common way for couples to meet is still the old fashioned way: in person. However, online dating is catching up. A Pew Research study found that 48 percent of singles aged 18 to 29 have used online dating platforms. For LGBTQ daters, the figure jumps to 55 percent.
The median individual income in the U.S. is $43,206, according to finance research site Don’t Quit Your Day Job.