Dating, death and statistics – at what age is the dating pool largest?

A while ago I found this comic on xkcd.com:

The general idea is that your dating pool increases with age since large age differences turn less creepy the older you get.

If you date someone younger, the creepiness is defined as C = A/2 + 7, where A is your age and C is the lowest age at which you should date someone. For someone else dating you, their age must therefore be D = 2*A – 14, where A again, is your age, and D is the upper sociably acceptable age of someone you should date.

Therefore, your dating pool should be limited by the numbers C and D, but since C increases with 0.5 per year and D increases with 2 per year, the overall dating pool-size increases with 1.5 years for every year you grow older. (I am 34, therefore C = 24 and D = 54). In all calculations, half ages have been rounded down for maximum creepiness.

So, the dating pool increases, but at some point people start to die off, and the dating pool will start to decrease naturally. This opened up a profound question for me: At what age is the dating pool largest?

I made some calculations using the number of men living in Norway sorted by age (in one year intervals), carefully picked from the norwegian census bureau and combined with some fancy excel/maple magic

The model’s lower boundary is 14, simply because at that point A = C = D. The upper boundary is 70, set by me.

Observations:
The dating pool increases until you get to the age of 44, where it stalls and falls off as people start to die. At 70 the whole model seems to break down (the upper creepiness is larger than any known age for a human, 126). It shows that the dating pool of men grows until the age of around 45 where it naturally starts to decrease again, but not by much until your upper bound gets so large that people start to die off.

Facts in numbers:

The highest dating pool is at the age of 44 where just over 69 % of the male population is dateable. The mean dateable population is: 0.493 with a standard deviation of 0.200

I fitted the data to a polynomial of fourth degree in Maple and found a maximum at 47.3 years of age.

If I wasn’t so lazy, I’d try to fit this to some kind of curve and calculate a maximum with standard deviation and everything. I’d also consider doing the chart for women, but I can’t see much of a point since the curve will probably take the same shape with a larger tail since the average age of death for women is higher.

In addition, the data shows all men, not just singles, while this conforms more to reality (people do fuck around while married), it is in violation of certain social norms. I leave it to the reader to consider the importance of this. It would also be interesting to see such a chart based on statistics from a country with a higher death rate (average age of around 30 or so), but I am uncertain if such is available. I leave it to future statistics nerds to figure that out.

Download the data and plots here.

Feel free to perform similar statistics with more elegance for your own country.

4 thoughts on “Dating, death and statistics – at what age is the dating pool largest?

  1. Women would be different I think

    The probability of women finding someone in advanced ages gets lower I think, due to competition. As a guesstimate I’d say men pursue women who are younger in appearance. This means while men age their interest in women at the upper end of the range lessens, while women in the younger bracket get more attention.

    ?

  2. Re: Women would be different I think

    Quite possible, perhaps the creepiness functions need to be different for men and women, and somehow reflect probabilities, after all, dating is a game of chance, in many cases.

  3. Re: Women would be different I think

    Thanks for the reply.
    I agree dating can be a game of chance.
    Perhaps the graph(s?) could be somewhat individualized for different people, ie the outgoing personality is more likely to come into contact with a greater number of potential partners than the shy or the approachable vs the creepy(albeit subjective). By virtue of the the chances go up irrespective of gender. I’d put money on the idea that a broad list of characteristics (extrovert, interests, etc) could better predict the partnering potential of an individual. What do you think?
    Thanks for the post it is engaging.

  4. Wow, i’d wish i had the time and knowledge to do something this fun :)

    @Spinflux
    Your ideas are interesting and I’m pretty sure that of all the personality characteristics you’ve mentioned, some of them are bound to have an effect on the outcome whether a certain group of individuals have greater chance of finding a potential partner.
    The Big Five (see Wikipedia)personality traits have been researched in relation to numerous of variables. The problems with correlational studies is that you can’t really tell if it’s the A causing B or B causing A. This type of studies merely describe that the two factors are related.

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