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The Dating Game: Gender Analytics

By on Aug 30, 2014

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A friend of mine was recently lamenting how hard it is to get a date in NSW, Australia. Being the kind of person who tries to oversimplify everything so I can make it a data problem, and not wanting to tell him it might have something to do with the thirty hours a week he spends playing Starcraft, I thought it might be interesting to analyse this through the lens of gender imbalance in a kind of supply and demand problem.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the odds of having a boy or girl are not a perfect 50/50. While the natural birth ratio varies from country to country, it generally sits at around 103-108 boys per 100 girls (there’s a very sad article from The Economist which explains how that ratio is artificially distorted in some parts of the world). In Australia, though, your odds of having a boy should sit somewhere in that natural ratio – between 50.7 and 51.9%.

Using 2013 age and sex data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics this trend checks out – boys make up 51.4% of the 0 – 4 year old NSW population. If this ratio held as we aged – and there were more males than females right through to death – then it would have a fairly obvious impact on dating at a macro level. There’d be more men than women and it’d be impossible for every male to end up with a partner. This is dependent on a number of assumptions – like monogamous relationships, an equal representation of LGBT persons in both sexes, matching desire to enter a relationship on both sides of the gender fence – but let’s leave those issues aside for now.

The twist, of course, is that the gender split doesn’t stay static for our entire lives. Males tend to die sooner (some people think this is why boys have that slight natural edge at birth, but there are a number of other theories and nobody is completely sure). By the time we get through to 85+ years, males make up only 35.3% of the state population. So where is the point of inflection?

Gender by age in NSW, Australia

The ratio of males to females changes significantly as the population ages. In NSW, the point of inflection comes in your late twenties / early thirties.

 

In NSW, the tipping point comes in your early thirties. While there are much more important things at an individual level – your personality, for example, or your ability to get through the first date without pouring coffee on yourself – at a population level there are some interesting implications. For example, it might actually be harder for boys to get a girlfriend in high school – there are probably less females in the cohort. Likewise, a 40 year old woman might find there are less eligible bachelors of her own age than there were 10 years earlier. As always, however, the interesting data comes when we start examining the outliers. Let’s look at Sydney’s residents.

Gender by age in Sydney, Haymarket and The Rocks, Australia

The gender ratio changes significantly for Sydney CBD, Haymarket and The Rocks. Notice that – even in the >84 window – males make up a larger share of the population.

 

A lot of the people in Sydney at any given time don’t actually live there – but for those of us who do, there’s a pretty huge gender imbalance with the national average. For my friend, a 35 year old who lives in the CBD – it turns out finding a partner who also lives in the area would be very difficult. You can see the opposite of this happening in Mosman:

Gender by age in Mosman, Australia

In Mosman, the ratio skews strongly towards females from a much younger age than in other parts of NSW.

 

So, with this information in hand – where should you go if you’re seeking men or women in atypical ratios? Below are the top 10 places to find each gender, ages 20-40 – measured in absolute variance from the expected levels, to exclude pesky rural towns with <10 people that could skew our data.

Top 10: Higher than expected Females

1. Leichhardt – Annandale

2. Paddington – Moore Park

3. Randwick

4. Balmain

5. Mosman

6. Coogee – Clovelly

7. Prestons – Lurnea

8. Cremorne – Cammeray

9. Lilyfield – Rozelle

10. Dulwich Hill – Lewisham

Top 10: Higher than expected Males

1. Auburn

2. Parramatta + Rosehill

3. Surry Hills

4. Kensington – Kingsfor

5. Strathfield

6. Wollongong

7. Redfern + Chippendale

8. Lakemba + Wiley Park

9. Potts Point + Woolloomooloo

10. Darlinghurst