Words & Deeds

Boise ranked No. 1 city for singles in 2014. Now it’s 37th. Time to move

Despite my fond memories of microwave burritos, dart-league hangovers and hamper rummaging, I’ve come to accept the sacrifices of marriage. Still, I admit to a pang of jealous nostalgia in 2014 when Boise was named the nation’s No. 1 city for singles by personal-finance website WalletHub.

Two years later, I’m grinning like a frat boy with a front-row seat at the bachelor party.

I’m scanning WalletHub’s report on 2016’s Best & Worst Cities for Singles. By scanning, I mean scrolling. Down, down, down.

Boise has plummeted in the rankings — from No. 1 to No. 37.

If you’re single in Boise, start pricing a U-Haul. It’s time to relocate to San Francisco (No. 1), Salt Lake City (No. 14) or even Reno, Nev. (No. 29).

But be aware. WalletHub’s rankings hinge squarely on whether you hope to stay single. Forty-five percent of American adults will be single this family-oriented holiday season, according to WalletHub, and “some singles are closer to happily ever after than they think.”

“To identify the cities in which singles have the highest chance of finding a significant other, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 150 most populated U.S. cities across 29 key metrics. The data set ranges from ‘share of single population’ to ‘number of online dating opportunities’ to ‘nightlife options per capita.’ ”

So what happened to us, Boise? Is our coffee too affordable? A Reuters headline this week declared, “Starbucks courts millennials with $10 coffee at new Reserve bars.” In behind-the-times Boise, Dawson Taylor is giving away free pour-over coffee Friday (and free doughnuts) at its new Roast slow bar on Lusk Street. Come on, singles hate that stuff.

We also should point a finger at Treefort Music Fest. A popular yearly attraction for hipsters in their 20s, it’s slowly become more family-friendly. There was even a freakin’ Easter egg hunt this year.

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez suggests that Boise’s new ranking shouldn’t be judged against its 2014 success. Based on feedback, WalletHub added new categories this year. “2016’s report used revamped methodology,” she explained in an email. “Thus, a direct comparison cannot be made.”

Oh, yes, it can. A lot of the categories stayed the same. Besides, Boise’s downward spiral began in 2015, when we finished as the No. 18 best city for singles.

When Boise ruled for singles in 2014, we were 4th for “beauty salon costs,” 15th in “number of attractions per capita,” 22nd in “crime rate” and 23rd in “mobile dating opportunities.”

New metrics in 2016 include “average party ticket price” (27th), “walkability” (85th), “WalletHub weather ranking” (39th) and “most active Tinder users” (16th).

A quick rebuttal: Where exactly do you have to pay for a party in Boise? Is it really that difficult to walk around Downtown? Have you looked outside at the inversion-free weather right now? What is Tinder?

Two of Boise’s worst rankings in 2016 were for “number of shopping centers per 100,000 residents” (1.37, 133rd) and “cost of taxi fare” ($27.24, 112th). Really? My family and I took a 25-minute Uber ride home from the Boise Airport on Black Friday, and it cost four bucks. (Did I get the married discount?)

Boise’s absolute worst ranking? “Average beer and wine price.” From 2014 to 2016, Boise nose-dived from 64th to 142nd. Thanks, local breweries! Keep on opening up with your delicious, pricey beer, and ruining life for singles!

In the grand scheme, being ranked No. 37 out of 150 cities isn’t so bad. It just has to sting if you’re single, because our city was so amazing only two short years ago.

Take solace. We still have one peacock feather in our caps. In its second annual Livability Index in 2014, website Vocativ ranked Boise No. 1 for “Top 10 Cities for a Night Out: Cheap beer, weed and a dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.”

There was no third Livability Index. Keep wearing that Burger King crown proudly, Boise.

Michael Deeds: 208-377-6407, @michaeldeeds

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