‘Top Ten’ Lists: Is Athens Really a Top City for Singles?

By: Kalyn Wilson

Looking for love? According to research done by Livability.com, Athens, Ga., is one of the Top 10 places for singles ages 21-34.

Mitchell Kline, city editor for Livability.com, and a team of coworkers use official census data to calculate the rankings. So far, the numbers put Athens ahead of an estimated 2,000 cities when it comes to places for young singles to mingle.

The question remains: Is the city of Athens the right place for you to meet someone special? Kline said data used in the selection process for their Top 10 lists exclude demographics such as religion and sexuality, which Kline considers some key predictors of compatibility.

“It’s part art, part science,” said Kline about the selection process. “Science” in this case involves the collection of data, which Kline said is yet to include strong information on things such as religious affiliation and sexual preferences. Diversity is included in the survey, but some cultural implications may not be portrayed as holistically as possible. For instance, the survey included how often people frequent nightclubs, dating sites and art galleries – but these things may not be indicators of the actual cultural, racial and ethnic diversity present in the area. This is where the “art” comes.

Kline said the writers and researchers weigh in on the choices by contributing their experiences in the cities from previous visits. This helps to control for some discrepancies present when considering missing data and possible mismatched indicators.

“Someone could easily argue that there’s other data to look at,” said Kline, “but we feel this was the best way to measure that.”

The takeaway: read with caution. While ‘Top 10″ articles often provide great insight, there may be missing components that subtract from the big picture. Kline thinks lists like this are a great place to start, and more data that includes complex factors are being formulated for years to come, but there’s no harm in taking a closer look before making a move.

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