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Best cities for online dating

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A few years ago, Match.com conducted a study where it ranked the 10 best cities for online dating. Here’s the list they compiled:

  1. Miami, Fla.
  2. New York, N.Y.
  3. Los Angeles, Calif.
  4. Chicago, Ill.
  5. Washington, D.C.
  6. Dallas, Tex.
  7. San Diego. Calif.
  8. Phoenix, Az.
  9. Boston, Mass.
  10. Houston, Tex

With all the traveling I did in 2013, I wanted to compare my own online dating experiences, using OkCupid, to Match’s research.

So I messaged 500 women (100 each in five different cities) and kept track of the response rates in each city. The study by Match takes into account more than response rate, but the number of replies you receive to your messages is certainly a strong barometer as far as how online dating-friendly a particular place is.

The opener I used for this experiment: Let’s run away together.

This opener usually generates a 30 to 33 percent response rate, which makes it a good first message. Any opener that generates responses at a higher rate is a great message; anything less and it’s subpar and should be reworked or discarded because it’s costing you girls.

The five cities I visited were Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Seattle and Miami.

The results

Miami: 25/100.

My opener didn’t perform particularly well, considering a one-third response rate makes a message effective, in the city Match ranked the best for online dating.

I might draw the conclusion that my opener could be better, however:

Seattle: 36/100.

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It performed slightly above average in a major city that didn’t make Match’s list. It wasn’t the only pacific-northwest city that responded well.

San Francisco: 31/100. A good, not great, response rate for my opener in another major city that didn’t crack Match’s top 10. This message’s success wasn’t limited to California though.

Las Vegas: 32/100.

You might think this rate is skewed higher because of the party-centric nature and hookup culture associated with Vegas. OkCupid however, is mostly populated by local women who aren’t necessarily as into the strip life as the average woman who visits for a weekend.

Los Angeles: 21/100.

The number three city for online dating in Match’s research barely produced a 20 percent response rate to a message that has proved its merit based on the last three cities.

Overall response rate for the opener Let’s run away together based on these five cities:

29 percent.

It fell a little short of the ideal 30 to 33 percent response rate a message should have, but still a solid showing considering the fairly limited sample size.

So the two cities I experimented with that made Match’s top three cities for online dating (LA and Miami) were not my personal best cities for online dating.

It’s important to note, however, that I’m not trying to undermine Match’s study. Theirs is much more nuanced and layered than mine, which is very simplistic, and the results are only relevant to me. I represent a certain age, race/ethnicity, physical appearance, and other factors displayed on my profile that skews results a certain way (could be good or bad, depending on the city and sample of girls I message).

That’s part of my point as well: these kinds of studies that rank the 10 best cities for one night stands, online dating, finding a wife, etc., aren’t necessarily useful to any individual person; they take the average sum of all people and use that to draw conclusions. But you’re not the average of everyone, you’re you. So even if you’re not in a dating-friendly location according to research, you need to figure out how to play to your strengths to take advantage of whatever area you’re located in.

Here is another article related to the subject: https://www.tsbmag.com/2010/11/30/10-best-us-cities-to-pick-up-girls/

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About Luke Harold Luke Harold is a journalist who has written for publications including the Philadelphia Inquirer and Orange County Register.

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