By Tom Blake
In 1961, Connie Francis had a popular song called “Where the Boys Are,” which was on the song track for a movie of the same name. In the song, she sang, “Where the boys are, my true love will be. He’s walkin’ down some street in town and I know he’s lookin’ there for me…”
Thirty-three years later, in 1994, my first column was published, inspired by an unexpected divorce. By then, those boys Ms. Francis sang about were men, and women column readers started asking, “Where are the men?”
And there were times back then, when—as a new single guy—I wondered, “Where are the single women?”
As readers have aged along with me during the ensuing quarter-century, “Where are the men?” remains the most frequently asked question I hear. If anything, I hear it more often now, and there’s a reason for that. The ratio of single women to single men keeps getting larger, so finding a mate becomes more difficult for women.
For years, I’ve believed and written that the ratio was approximately 2-to-1.
Last week, when I read that the Census Bureau recently published some new statistics on the 65-and-older population, I decided to see if I could get an accurate, updated ratio of single women to single men.
The study was conducted in 2016 with a sample size of 3.5 million households across the United States and Puerto Rico. Every county in the nation was included. The numbers listed were estimates based on sample size.
I analyzed the 25-page report to see if it provided information that would be of interest or helpful to older singles.
The study revealed that in 2016, there were 49.2 million people in the U.S. aged 65 and older.
Women outnumbered men, 27.4 million to 21.8 million. The survey broke down the information into three age groups: 65 to 74; 75 to 84; and 85 and older.
The survey revealed that widows outnumbered widowers by 3-to-1, although in the 85-and-older category, the ratio was 2-to-1. It’s difficult for widows to find widowers to date.
The number of non-married women and men in each age category, along with the ratio of those women to men:
- 65 to 74 – 6.8 million women, 3.8 million men = ratio 1.8 to 1.
- 75 to 84 – 4.9 million women, 1.8 million men = ratio 2.7 to 1.
- 85-and-up – 3.5 million women, 1.0 million men = ratio 3.5 to 1.
Those ratios don’t seem as bad as I had anticipated. However, when you consider that many of those men included are in a relationship, or don’t want to be in a relationship, or never married, or aren’t “relationship material,” as some women point out, the realistic ratios are much larger.
So, how many eligible guys are left? It’s slim pickings! And the older people get, the slimmer the pickings become.
By age 85, 72 percent of the women were widowed.
So when women say, “What’s wrong with me? I can’t meet a nice man.”
The answer: “There is nothing wrong with you; numbers don’t lie. There just aren’t that many older men available. But there still are many, many couples who meet and become committed after age 65, so all hope isn’t lost.”
Keep in mind that these stats and numbers were estimates from the 2016 survey, but, as the saying goes, they are close enough for government work—and probably close enough for the age 65-and-older group as well.
Too bad, 58 years after Connie Francis sang “Where the Boys Are,” we can’t get her to sing a new song: “Where the Men Are.” She is 80 years old; her song would be an inspiration to many of our readers. Link to Where the Boys Are: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41_jI3vsuyE
Tom Blake is a Dana Point resident and a former Dana Point businessman who has authored several books on middle-aged dating. See his websites findingloveafter50.com; www.vicsta.com and www.travelafter55.com. To receive Tom’s weekly online newsletter, sign up at www.findingloveafter50.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.