The Numbers Game to Modern Dating


Birger's "Date-onomics" predicts changes in dating trends and gives advice.

Birger's "Date-onomics" predicts changes in dating trends and gives advice.
Birger’s “Date-onomics” predicts changes in dating trends and gives advice.

By Nicole Horton

“Date-Onomics” by Jon Birger uses demographics, statistics and number-crunching to analyze the dating game for 20 or 30-somethings. If you are a woman and feel like your life is depicted in the movie He’s Just Not That Into You (minus guys who look like Ben Affleck and Bradley Cooper), you are mistaken. It is just that there are not enough men out there.

Birger, who was a writer at Fortune and Money magazines, was inspired to write a numbers-related dating guide while working at these magazines and interacting with his female co-workers.
He details that both staffs were disproportionately made up of women, and most male employees were in serious relationships or married, like him.

“They had stories and dating histories that made little sense to me,” Birger told The Fordham Ram. “They had a lot going for them.”

He mentioned a friend, Sarah, who was in her late 30s and dating a forty-five-year-old man for about two years. She thought that they had a future together, but he broke up with her because he was not ready to settle down.
Birger and his wife would occasionally play matchmaker, but they stopped when they reached their 30s and they only had single female friends.

“It’s not just a statistical problem for women,” said Birger. “The lopsided numbers infantilize men to delay settling down and play the field. It gives college-educated men an incentive not to settle down because every year their dating pool gets better.”

In regards to dating in college, Birger said, “College campuses tend to be semi self-contained dating pools.”
He says that the female to male ratio at Fordham (55 to 45) is not as lopsided compared to other colleges like our neighbors at NYU, where it is at 61 to 39. Birger also references two similar universities: UNC Chapel Hill at 60 to 40 and Boston University at 62 to 38.
Birger said that Ivy League universities like Columbia, Brown, Vanderbilt and Williams have started “accepting men at higher rates in order to balance the gender ratio.”

Once students graduate from universities with uneven ratios and move to a less-contained setting, Birger said, “Obviously if there is an undersupply of men in the college educated dating world, there’s going to be an oversupply in the working place dating pool.”
“For college educated millennial women, if you delay getting serious about dating, the dating math will be worse in your mid-30s than your mid-20s,” said Birger.

Birger detailed the problematic male to female ratio in New York City, comparing 140 women to 100 men, meaning that there are 1.4 women for every one man. Once 60 of those women and 60 of those men pair off and get married, the gender ratio among the remaining single populations becomes 80 to 40, or 2 to 1.

“If you’re just starting out (about to graduate from college) and you have some flexibility geographically — I’m not going to suggest that gender ratios should be your main concern — but if you do want to get married one day, the dating markets are going to be more woman-friendly in San Jose, California or Seattle than Miami or Los Angeles,” said Birger.

Birger believes that online dating hurts the dating game because many people approach it like picking a car, being too specific with their wish lists. This applies to not only a prospective match’s education, but also limits someone to a particular physical type.

“I think online dating has made this worse,” said Birger. “If you click with them and they’re interested, it’s not going to matter initially if that person went to college or not.”

He suggests that women should widen their dating pools to include working-class men. Birger believes that there will be a rise in “mixed-collar” marriages due to the fact that there are more college-educated women than men. This would also provide less leverage for college-educated men.
Birger predicted this change in dating trends despite the fact that he also says, “Over the past 50 years, Americans have become more rigid about dating across socioeconomic lines.”

Aside from tackling the numbers game of dating, Birger also gave advice as a long-time married man. “For somebody who has been married for twenty plus years, all good marriages involve compromise. This notion that there’s a perfect person out there who’s perfectly compatible with you in every way, that’s not a realistic goal in terms of finding your life partner.”