Right time, wrong place: single hotspots in the UK revealed

Future of Dating  |  June 4, 2014

The odds of finding a single man or woman are stacked against daters living in certain areas, according to the findings of a new report that reveals a nationwide “singles gap” in the ratio of men to women. In a report: ‘The State of Singles’, compiled by the Future Foundation as part of our Future of Dating series, a growing singles gap was identified in the number of single women to single men (aged 18-64) and vice versa around the country.   

Its findings reveal that the ratio of single women to single men is generally higher in cities than in rural areas and pinpoints the local area districts (LADs) in England and Wales that have the highest number of singles of each gender. The top hotspots for single females, i.e. the LADs with the highest number of single females compared to men, are Knowsley (120 single women per 100 single men), Enfield (116), Wandsworth (114), Barking and Dagenham (113) and Chichester (113). 


single women for every 100 single men makes Knowsley the UK’s biggest hotspot for those who date women

While the two biggest hotspots for single men are in urban areas – City of London (155 single men per 100 single women) and Newham (126) – across the country as a whole, a higher ratio of single to women can be found in rural areas, with sparsely-populated areas such as the Isles of Scilly (119) and Forest Heath (117) appearing in the top-ten hotspots for single men.   

More young single men than women

Unlike the ONS definition of ‘single’ (which is all people who are not married and not cohabiting, regardless of whether they are in a relationship or not), this study excludes people who are in a relationship but not living together from the ‘single’ population, to give a more accurate picture of the location of truly single Britons in England and Wales.  The report reveals that overall young single women (aged 18-34) are in shorter supply than young single men, primarily because women enter relationships younger than men on average. This means much of the pool of young women (aged 18-34) are living with men in the older age group (aged 35-64) and therefore not ‘single’.  


is the number of single men to ever 100 single women in the City of London. Urban areas are likely to have higher numbers of single men

Young men have the best chance of finding young single women in the city (where there are 88 young single women for every 100 young men) than in rural areas (where there are 81 young single women for every 100 young men).  Interestingly the figures reveal a ‘doughnut effect’ around London specifically, with a higher ratio of single women living in the outer boroughs (especially Enfield, Bromley, Barking and Dagenham, and Croydon, all of which are in the top-10 hotspots for single women nationwide), but with a higher ratio of men in the middle (e.g. City of London, Tower Hamlets and Newham).  

Over the next decade, the report forecasts that the singles gap in rural areas could widen, as increasing numbers of country-based women pursue urban careers and higher earnings. This in turn will put further emphasis on matchmaking services to connect couples, with more than half of couples set to meet online by 2031.  

The rankings: where has the most available single men and women?

1City of London155
2Newham, London126
3Isles of Scilly119
5Forest Heath, Suffolk117
8Copeland, Cumbria115
9Tower Hamlets, London115
10Eden, Cumbria115
1Knowsley, Lancashire120
2Enfield, Middlesex116
3Wandsworth, London114
4Barking & Dagenham, Essex113
5Chichester, Sussex113
6Bromley, Kent113
7South Hams, Devon112
8Hertsmere, Hertfordshire111
9Croydon, Sussex111
10Hammersmith & Fulham, London111
Study information
  • Study typeData analysis
  • Reference Period2014
  • InstituteFuture Foundation
  • Region/City/CountryUK
  • LanguageEnglish