Single women outnumber men in Winnipeg's dating pool, data shows
Winnipeg among many Canadian cities where single, educated women outnumber men
Single heading into this Valentine's Day weekend? It may not have to do with you, but instead come down to simple economics.
"Like many cities across Canada, Winnipeg has more women than men," said Marina Adshade, a professor of economics at the University of British Columbia who specializes in the economics of dating pools.
According to the latest data from Statistics Canada, there are nearly 22,000 more single women than men in the city's dating pool.
That's not totally unusual — women tend to live longer than men and as we age, there are just more of them.
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But women actually start to outnumber men around age 25 in Winnipeg, and each year, the disparity grows.
There is one distinct group, though, that Adshade says is particularly "disadvantaged" in Winnipeg when it comes to dating: educated women.
"I think this is a feature of the fact women are going to university more than men are today," she said, adding it's a trend that's been going on for about 30 years, and it creates a disparity in the dating pool — especially in cities.
In Winnipeg, Statistics Canada data shows at last count, there were about 11,000 more women than men who reported having some post-secondary education.
"In Canada, if you look at women you know say between the ages of 25 and 35, for every 100 men that have a university degree, there's 135 women," she said.
This is a trend Adshade said is playing out in cities across Canada, and it has been for the last 30 years.
"The jobs for people who are university educated are in cities, so a lot of women are living in cities a lot more than … men," said Adshade.
Statistics on the size of the LGBT community are limited, but Adshade said because LGBT Canadians are a statistically smaller proportion of the population, they're drawing from a smaller dating pool as well.
'It's really tough to find someone'
When Anna Oliviera moved to Winnipeg from Brazil 16 months ago, and though she is now dating someone, she didn't expect it to be so hard to meet people.
"It's different to date someone here. People are more closed. It's more difficult to start a relationship here," said the 21-year-old civil engineering student. "People are more shy and it's difficult to start a conversation in a bar or even in a university."
Her friend Anna Noronha agreed.
"For me, it wasn't that difficult, but I heard that Canadian guys are more closed. They don't come to talk to the girls," she said.
Statistics student Alex Ignat has had a girlfriend for the past two years but said a lot of his friends have had trouble.
"I think most people my age are going to the bar, getting as drunk as they can and seeing where that goes," he said. "It's really tough to find someone you connect with."
Vancouver women and Calgary men
One of the worst cities for educated single women looking to date an opposite-sex partner? Vancouver.
But Adshade said the city of Calgary has better demographics.
"There's an active trade of trying to match Vancouver women with Calgary men," she said, adding heading to a small town or a rural area can also level the playing field a bit.
"It gets much worse in cities than it does in rural areas because there's more university educated people in cities," said Adshade.
But just because there are more single women, especially educated women, in Canadian cities, it doesn't mean women looking for a partner are being forced to "lower their expectations."
More people staying single
"For reasons that I don't agree with actually, we like to think women are sellers on this market and men are buyers and there's so many women we've flooded the market," she said. "Markets for love are a lot more like a barter economy. Everybody has to trade goods and services ... It's not just one quality we're trading in. We're trading in hundreds of qualities."
University of Manitoba social psychology professor Marian Morry says gender inequality on campuses leads to more casual relationships, and more people seeking out longer-term friendships.
"A lot of people are really embracing being single and they enjoy being single and we are certainly staying single to a much older age than we have in the past," said Morry. "Society's attitudes have changed."
Don't make the infamous 'list' experts say
Regardless of your gender or orientation, both Morry and Adshade said being rigid on your preferences for those "hundreds of qualities" isn't a good strategy.
That's because simple factors like age, religion or even height can drastically shrink the dating pool, and it isn't hard to get down to zero quickly.
Adshade wants Statistics Canada to release data that would allow people to see how the pool shrinks as you add preferences.
"I think people would be shocked. People would put it in and they would find out there's like three people in their region or something like that," she said.
Adshade gives the example of a woman looking for a man between the age of 25 and 44 who makes more than $100,000 a year and is over six feet tall. Those three qualifiers eliminate almost 99 per cent of men.
Set on finding someone?
"I wouldn't make a very detailed list because you will get down to zero, but the reality is, we're very fluid in who we actually end up dating," said Morry.
Instead, she recommends people looking for love do a few simple things like staying off their cellphones (they shut down conversations), looking people in the eye when talking and trying to read others' expressions and behaviours.
"Ask them about themselves," she said. "Don't just talk about yourself."
Online dating is also an option, but Morry said it focuses too much on "actual similarity" and leads to less diversity in who you meet.
One ray of sunshine for people looking for a long-term commitment? Adshade points out 85 per cent Canadians have been married by the time they hit ages 46 to 49.
"We may get married later, and it may take us longer to find someone, but a lot of us do, eventually find someone," she said.