Lonely America: Where Are Folks Most Likely to Be Single, Divorced, or Dating?

Trevor Wheelwright
Researcher & Writer
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Published on February 01, 2021
3 min read

Find the loneliest states in the US

Getting tired of working from home, social distancing, travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders, and quarantining? If you’re feeling lonely, you’re not alone.

We used Census data to map out which states (including Washington DC) had the most folks living alone, highest divorce rates, and most dating app-related searches. After normalizing the data, we ranked each state using weights for each category:

  • Percent living alone (35%)1
  • Percent divorced (35%)2
  • Dating app searches (30%) (via Google Trends)

In the US, 29.7% of the population lives alone, and 11.3% of the population is divorced. With at least three in ten adults using dating apps,3 America is coming across as just a little desperate for companionship these days.

Where does your state land on the most lonely list?

Loneliest States in America

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The most lonely places in America

Maine has the highest divorce rate (14%), matched with the highest search volume for dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and more. On top of that, almost a third (31.2%) of Maine’s residents live alone.

Still, Washington DC is home to the most single folks: 44.8% of the district’s population lives alone. But DC seems somewhat content in its isolation; it had nearly the lowest interest in online dating (Hawaii had the least interest).

Plus, they say discussing politics during a date is divisive, which may make the nation’s capital dangerous territory for singles. According to SinglesinAmerica.com, 76% of singles believe it’s important for partners to share the same political beliefs.4

Top 10 loneliest states in  the US

Rank
State
1 Maine
2 Vermont
3 Oregon
4 West Virginia
5 New Mexico
6 Arkansas
7 Kentucky
8 Indiana
9 New Hampshire
10 Oklahoma

Compared to Maine, more of Vermont’s population is living alone (31.6%), but fewer are divorced (12.5%). And the sweetness the Green Mountain State is looking for isn’t found in maple syrup either: Vermont had the second-highest search volume for dating apps.

While there’s plenty of lonely people in these cities, are there plenty of fish in the sea?

More people doesn’t always mean less loneliness

Each of the loneliest cities featured had close to 30% of their population living alone and above 12% divorce rates. But maybe the trick to avoid loneliness is to be surrounded by people?

Some of the most populated states like California, Texas, and New York rank among the least lonely states. These states also had the lowest search volume for dating apps and divorce rates, so you might be able to fight off the floundering feelings of loneliness by stepping out into the big city (with proper social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions, of course).

However, more people doesn’t necessarily mean less loneliness: Florida, the third-most populated state, was the 11th loneliest city with a higher-than-average divorce rate of (13.2%) and 28.7% of the population living alone. (Is there something in the water down there?)

And you may be surprised to see Alaska on the least lonely list below. After all, the Last Frontier is one of the least populated states and perhaps the most desolate. But Alaska’s single household population and divorce rates fall below the national averages, and the state showed the third-least interest in online dating.

Where else do people seem a little less lonely?


The least lonely states in the US

Utah, known for its big family sizes and industrial attitude, keeps a positive buzz alive as the least lonely state in the US. Less than 20% of Utah’s population lives alone (compared to the near 30% nationally), and the state has the third-lowest divorced population in the country.

Aloha to ohana: Hawaii makes a vibrant appearance as the second least lonely state in the US with low divorce rates and a low percentage of the population living alone. Hawaii also had the lowest search volume for online dating apps—are you lucky enough to find love on the beach like that?

Top 10 least lonely states in the US

Rank
State
1

Utah

2 Hawaii
3 California
4 New Jersey
5 Texas
6 New York
7 Virginia
8 Maryland
9 Massachusetts
10 Alaska

While New York is one of the least lonely states, it’s also one of the most expensive places to live. Folks may want to team up to help pay rent: 30.5% of New York’s population lives alone.

But, no matter where you live, you don’t have to be alone (just be cautious about the virus!).

Helping fight off the loneliness

The pandemic takes its toll on everyone’s social lives, but folks living alone, divorced, or looking for love may feel more isolated than ever.

Reach out to your friends, family, and acquaintances, even if it’s just to say hello on the phone or online. Remind them other people care about them. You never know what difference a simple gesture can make during these lonesome times—you might even find yourself a little less lonely.


Methodology

We ranked each US state based on the factors below:

  • Percent living alone (35%)
  • Percent divorced (35%)
  • Dating app searches (30%)
    • (We used Google Trends to analyze searches for Tinder, Bumble, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid, Grindr, Hinge, Zoosk, and MeetMe)

We normalized each measurement on a 0-1 scale, with 0 being a negative measurement (more lonely) and 1 being a positive measurement (less lonely). Using the adjusted measurements, we added the weights mentioned above to score each state.

The loneliest states in America

State
% of households living alone
% divorced
Dating app searches
Rank
Maine31.2141001
Vermont31.612.5962
Oregon28.113833
West Virginia29.712.8794
New Mexico31.413.4585
Arkansas29.513.3656
Kentucky29.113.2657
Indiana30.412.6718
New Hampshire27.712.4879
Oklahoma28.613.26610
Florida28.713.26211
Ohio31.112.27012
Nevada28.613.65113
Montana30.712.46214
Arizona27.312.27815
Alabama29.912.56016
Missouri30.312.16417
Delaware28.811.97318
Rhode Island3110.98319
Michigan30.511.86720
Idaho24.712.76821
Wisconsin30.5117522
Tennessee28.7126023
Louisiana30.212.24924
North Dakota33.610.26925
Wyoming27.412.15826
Mississippi30.211.85027
Iowa29.7116328
Connecticut2910.87029
Colorado27.111.76030
Kansas29.111.45431
Washington26.611.65932
Pennsylvania30.1107433
North Carolina28.610.96034
Nebraska28.710.36835
South Dakota29.910.55836
Minnesota29.410.65837
District of Columbia44.88.23638
South Carolina28.910.56039
Georgia2811.34740
Illinois30.89.95241
Alaska27.411.23942
Massachusetts28.69.37043
Maryland28.2105244
Virginia27.7105045
New York30.58.95846
Texas25.610.64247
New Jersey26.48.65548
California249.34649
Hawaii25.29.23550
Utah19.28.74851

Sources

  1. US Census Bureau, “American Community Survey - Household by Type,” Accessed January 27, 2021.
  2. US Census Bureau, “American Community SurveyMarital Status,” Accessed January 27, 2021.
  3. Pew Research, “10 Facts about Americans and Online Dating,” February 6, 2020. Accessed January 27, 2021.
  4. SinglesinAmerica.com, “Matters of State Affect Who Singles Date.” Access January 29, 2021.
Trevor Wheelwright
Written by
Trevor Wheelwright
Trevor has experience writing about and reviewing a multitude of subjects and products. Influenced by art and philosophy, he views everything as part of a story and an expression of our transcendent experience.