Research suggests people tend to end up in romantic relationships with people who are a lot like them. Never mind those Disney fairy tales about a princess who marries a street thief or a prince who marries a housemaid. The real world doesn't have genies or fairy godmothers, and the reality is that people tend to end up romantically seeking and partnering with others of similar social, financial, and educational backgrounds.
So what happens in a community where the young women are better educated than the men? Well, you get the dating hell that is South Florida.
That's one of the main theories in Jon Birger's new book, Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game. He claims the fact that women are increasingly getting their college educations at higher rates than men has thrown a wrench into our country's dating culture. Nationwide, about four women in their 20s have a college education for every three men.
According to a new analysis of those stats by the Washington Post, in Miami there are 86 percent more young women under the age of 25 with a college degree than there are men under 25. When the age range was shifted to 22 to 29, it was Fort Lauderdale that came out on top in that ratio. In that bracket, there were 171 college-educated women for every 100 college-educated men there.
Using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey data, we were able to get a better picture of the gendered education gap in Miami-Dade. Here are the hard numbers:
Of those 18 to 25, approximately 13,331 Miami women have a bachelor's degree or higher. Only 7,601 men do.
In that same age group, the split of those who have an associate's degree or some college is slightly better: 58,129 women to 52,195 men. It's likely, however, that more of those women will go on to complete or further their education than the men.
But, hey, those are just kids. What about those of us who are already young professionals and really looking to settle down? Well, it doesn't look too good there either.
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Of Miamians aged 25 to 34, there are 57,916 women with a bachelor's degree to 43,453 men. That means for every 100 college-educated women in that age group, there are only 75 college-educated men. And that doesn't even factor in how many of those men are actually single or apt to date women.
Birger also suggests that in situations where there are more available single women than available single men, it tends to lead to more of a hookup culture. Which is to say single, college-educated young men in Miami may find themselves a hot commodity due to the dating pool, but because of that, they aren't in a rush to settle down.
In case you're wondering if there's any hope of this situation changing anytime soon: Not really. Sure, the gender breakdown at the University of Miami is a relatively tight 51.4 percent female to 48.6 male, according to College Data. However, at Florida International University, the split is 55.4 female to 44.6 male, and Miami Dade College reports its split as 58 percent female to just 42 percent male.
Parents, if you're looking for some motivation to get your son to study and apply to college that might actually connect with him, this story — for better or worse — might be what you need.