It’s evident to any NYU students who has spent any time trying to woo a partner that hookup culture has taken over the student population. No one seems to want a relationship, or even have the energy to look for a reason to. There are too many clubs — too many shifting cultural values on love and monogamy — for steady relationships to be appealing.
Jon Birger, author of the new book, “Date-Onomics,” disagrees. His book is a comprehensive study into the reason why women — specifically heterosexual, college-educated women — seem to be having increasingly harder times finding steady partners and husbands. His research was spurred by his observation that while all his male friends were happily married, his female friends (who were all “catches”) remained single. Birger dug into countless studies and the depths of the US Census Bureau data to pinpoint the reason why, and it came to a rather startlingly simple explanation.
“I thought there was something about cities like New York or LA or Toronto or London — something about these really big, cosmopolitan cities that were very uniquely attracting women, particularly educated women,” Birger said. “I thought it would be about these cosmopolitan cities like New York that had either shortages of men or excess supplies of women, depending on your perspective. But when I dug into the Census data, I was wrong. The sex ratio among college grads is even more skewed in Montana than it is in New York City. This is an everywhere issue, not just a big city question.”
As it happens, the gender ratio of college-educated women to men is extremely skewed, with nationwide averages being around 60-40, respectively. It’s not only an issue in larger metropolitan cities, but rural areas too, and is consistent across the nation. “Date-Onomics” is a study and explanation, what Birger refers to as the “man deficit.” WSN got to speak with Birger, and it was clear that every study into the topic, whether US-based or around the world, leads to the same conclusion.
“I do think the culture has shifted, but I don’t like this idea that culture changes for no reason,” Birger said. “Yeah, things change, but as I write in the book — that idea kind of implies what I call ‘social entropy,’ it implies that things naturally go from a state of order to disorder when it comes to the way we organize our personal lives.”
“Date-Onomics” compels to the point that the next time your roommate is complaining about hookup culture, you’ll find yourself considering stopping by the nearest bookstore and grabbing a copy.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 4 print edition. Email Hailey Nuthals at [email protected]