Scrolling through Facebook, seeing so many pictures of happy couples, wedding photos and smiling babies, I feel like I’m the only one who isn’t in a relationship. Logically, I know this isn’t true, but judging by what I see on Facebook, I feel like I’m in a tiny minority.
I wanted to get a more accurate idea of the real proportion of singles to non-singles. Since I don’t tend to be jealous of people much older or younger than me, I focused on my age group, using my high school senior class as my sample population.
Without access to my yearbook, I had to rely mostly on memory. Luckily, my class size was relatively small, so I was able to recall 80% of them. Through exhaustive Facebook-stalking (for research purposes!) I checked the profiles of everyone I could find and tried to determine their relationship status. If their status wasn’t listed, I looked through their pictures and posts to make an educated guess. While I’m sure the results of my investigation weren’t 100% accurate, I bet it gives a much better picture of the single to non-single ratio than my gut feeling after being on Facebook.
What percent of my former classmates are single?
The more Facebook profiles I looked at, the more convinced I was that I was part of a very small minority. Yet when I finally put the numbers together, I was surprised by the results.
In reality, 38% of my classmates were single. Assuming that my senior class is a good representation of all 26-27 year olds, approximately 29% to 48% of the general 26-27 year old population is single.1 While still technically a minority, singles make up a substantial chunk of the population.
Who’s more likely to be single? Males or Females?
Looking at the pie charts, you can see that there were more single males and more married or engaged females. These results gave me mixed feelings, because it seemed to indicate an abundance of single guys, but also seemed to confirm my suspicion that I’m lagging behind other girls my age. However, when I ran the numbers, none of the results were statistically significant2. This meant that the differences in proportions were probably due to chance, rather than a real tendency for guys to be single more often.
It was comforting to discover that being single at my age is not nearly as unusual as I thought. As far as relationships go, I sometimes feel like I’m light years behind my peers and Facebook often perpetuates the feeling. Comparing the highs and lows of our own lives to the highlights we see on Facebook is an unfair comparison and often doesn’t reflect reality. I think many of us would be happier if we could learn to stop comparing ourselves so often to other people, though it’s easier said than done.