College-grad women seeking mates have best odds in Utah towns

Ogden-Clearfield area tops list of spots with single male graduates

Published: Sunday, Feb. 17 2013 8:24 a.m. MST

Students await Weber State College winter graduation ceremonies in Ogden.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

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OGDEN — College-educated women seeking a man with a degree may want to head to Ogden and stay out of Sarasota, Fla. It seems there's a great difference, geographically, for educated women looking for an educated date.

The Atlantic has just published the odds of an educated female finding an educated male in any one of the nation's major metropolitan areas. The Ogden-Clearfield area makes the top spot for "it could happen." The Florida city hits bottom.

Utah also had the No. 3 likeliest spot, in Provo.

"Sarasota is just an example of what's true all over America," says Atlantic associate editor Jordan Weissmann on the site's blog. "The number of college-educated women now far outstrips the number of college-educated men, which in turn has diminished their option in the dating pool."

The U.S. Census is the source of the data for the snapshot on 100 metro areas.

Weissmann says, "One of the great social narratives of the past half-century is that Americans have been self-segregating into cultural and class enclaves, in part by marrying people more and more educationally like themselves. Whereas once the country was full of 'Mad Men' characters happy to turn their secretary into their lawfully wedded housewife, the story goes, now people pair off with spouses they meet in college or while collaborating on a work project or through mutual, equally well-schooled friends."

The Department of Education says that in 1995, men and women ages 25-29 were about equally apt to have earned an undergraduate degree from a university. Now, 28.4 percent of men have, compared to 36.1 percent of women. That's the underpinning of the gap.

Among the very largest cities, the top 15, Seattle is "the most balanced city," Weissmann says. But there are eight women with a college degree for every seven men even there. Someone's going to marry down the educational ladder.

College towns, tech centers, the Midwest and Utah seem to offer "some of the most abundant educated male populations," he says.

Females have largely eliminated the achievement gap that had long marked education attainment in America. But males have not held steady in education achievement, making it a bit of a pendulum swing, rather than a scale tilt. Ed.gov says that female high school seniors tend to have higher educational aspirations than their male peers.

As far back as 2004, then-Secretary of Education Rod Paige said "it is clear that girls are taking education very seriously and that they have made tremendous strides. The issue now is that boys seem to be falling behind. We need to spend some time researching the problem so that we can give boys the support to succeed academically."

For every 100 women who earn a bachelor's degree, only 73 men earn one. Women outnumber men obtaining master's degrees by more than 30 percent, according to an earlier Deseret News article that examined how differently boys and girls are faring across a number of measures, including academics.

Meanwhile, marriage is undergoing some change, too, thriving among those with a college education, but losing ground with other demographics.

Marriage occurs in a very uneven fashion, W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, told the Deseret News last spring. Highly educated Americans are more likely to marry. That includes the third of Americans with a college degree. Marriage is less likely among those who have some college education or less, what he called a "retreat from marriage in middle America."

One of the issues, he said, is that while marriage is a goal across demographics, women are not finding men they want to marry.

EMAIL: lois@desnews.com

Twitter: Loisco

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