I lived in New York City for many years, and I felt pretty much alone in my desire to start a family, like, ASAP! But a new study by EliteSingles, an online dating site, flies in the face of my own personal experience. After looking at 42,000 singles in the biggest 30 cities in the U.S., researchers determined that New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, D.C. are the best places to live for singles who want kids.
On the flip side, Las Vegas, Charlotte (North Carolina), Louisville (Kentucky), Phoenix, and Memphis top the list of cities where singles are least likely to want a family. In fact, almost twice as many Vegas singles just said "no" to kids versus those in New York: About one in five singles in Sin City admitted they had no desire for children, while only one in 10 Big Apple singles are looking to avoid kiddie birthday parties and accumulating strollers and pack-n-plays.
I'll admit I'm surprised by the findings of the EliteSingles research team. Having also lived in Charlotte, my own personal experience was that people started families younger there. But that may also explain the study. According to the research, bigger cities like New York are home to a slightly younger demographic. And when you are younger, you may dream of starting a family, but kids aren't actually a reality. So perhaps you would be more likely to say, "Sure, yeah, I'll have kids... someday!"
But in a city like Charlotte, where singles are a little older, it's like, "Whoa, I'm old enough to have kids, and that's daunting/not possible given my life circumstances." Or, perhaps you've reached an age where you would have thought you'd already be a parent, and now, it's just not in the cards. Therefore, you'd be more likely to say kids aren't for you.
Not surprisingly, the study found women were more certain than men about whether or not they wanted children. But here's an odd tidbit that came out of the research: Almost 52 percent of men in Nashville want a baby, the highest rate for men nationally, but just 200 miles across the state in Memphis, 18 percent of the guys don't want a child, also the highest rate in the country. Weird.
The most neutral place when it comes to the prospect of kids is Oklahoma City, so head there if you aren't sure where you stand yet on the whole parenting thing. But really, just find someone who feels the same way you do about having a family, no matter where you live.
That's what worked for me; my husband and I talked about that kind of stuff very early on, and once I realized we saw our futures unfolding in the same way, I was hooked!
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.