Where is the optimal marriage market?

I have spent the past few weeks playing around with where the optimal marriage market is and thought NoL might want to offer their two cents.

At first my instinct was that a large city like New York or Tokyo would be best. If you have a larger market, your chances of finding a best mate should also increase. This is assuming that transaction costs are minimal though. I have no doubt that larger cities present the possibility of a better match being present in the dating pool.

However it also means that the cost of sorting through the bad ones is harder. There is also the possibility that you have already met your best match, but turned them down in the false belief that someone better was out there. It’s hard to buy a car that we will use for a few years due to the lemon problem. Finding a spouse to spend decades with is infinitely harder.

In comparison a small town information about potential matches is relatively easy to find. If you’re from a small town and have known most people since their school days, you have better information about the type of person they are. What makes someone a fun date is not always the same thing that makes them a golf spouse. You may be constrained in who you have in your market, but you can avoid lemons more easily.

Is the optimal market then a mid sized city like Denver or Kansas City? Large enough to give you a large pool of potential matches, but small enough that you can sort through with minimal costs?

P.S. A friend has pointed out that cities/towns with large student populations or military bases are double edged swords for those looking to marry. On the one hand they supply large numbers of dating age youths. On the other hand, you would not want to marry a 19 year old who is still figuring out what they want to major in.

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4 thoughts on “Where is the optimal marriage market?

  1. Online dating sites mimic the large pool of potential mates one finds in big metro areas, expanding options to whatever distance participants are willing to drive. They also replicate the problem you mention of sorting through vast quantities of people to find one with desired qualities.

    Searching for a mate may seem easier online than in person, but in reality is just as difficult. People are nuanced creatures, and often defy categorization and labeling in important ways. In person, one can more readily, naturally and deeply get to know another’s nuances and character.

    Regardless of how you meet potential partners, in the end I think it comes down to the ability to meet the right people rather than meeting X number of people.

    Toward that end, the number of people in a given dating market is of lesser consideration than what you offer in that market and how other participants view that offering, both of which can expand or contract your actually available options.

    All of the above is based on personal experience and observation, not some “official” study or data repository. I’ve been married for nearly a decade, but before that – it was insane. Not going back there, ever!

  2. For me the optimal marriage market was one where I was able to find someone willing to marry me. Graduate school FTW.

  3. You see some travelling wide networks, not just localities as ‘The Market;… Indian communities for instance, zero in on where family connections can make contacts and vet prospects – I have known: from Perth Australia a Sikh girl fly to Nairobi, a Christian Indian girl to SIngapore, and a Tasmanian Parsee to India to meet the shortlisted prospects. I remarked to one that her law degree and top firm placement must make her a hot prospect; she wryly told me that didn’t count, it was her Australian passport that really made a difference.

    Meanwhile Internet dating connections see an Australian divorced guy fly a girl from Minnesota, another from New Zealand, apart from the traditional Filipinas, Thai and (judging by the ads) Russians.
    My own widowed mother at 70 years old was very successful as an internet dater;

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