The Mech Guide to Dating – What are your odds (yes, real stats) of finding someone at UBC?

Wow, would you look at the calendar?

Feb. 14th is over, and I am sure the heart shaped cookies and chocolates in pink wraps are on sale in stores all over the city. I couldn’t tell you if there are good deals out there, since I haven’t been poking outside campus after Valentine’s day. But nonetheless, some couples appreciate it being over, because they feel obligated to do something for their significant other on that day, and many singles appreciate it being over since singles tend to be more sensitive of the day than couples seem to be. Or so is a short summary of my qualitative behavioural data this year.

Today, I am in a mood for sharing some quantitative data that may entertain you, and this is inspired by a really funny, and well filmed, video from UBC Mech featuring the excellent hidden talent of Dr. Schajer that I was not aware of.

Alright, so it may not surprise the public much that a lot of people I know in grad school are single, and not particularly by choice.

But, it may surprises us grad schoolers (well, myself, rather) to know that there are “99.6 million unmarried people over age 18 in the U.S., representing nearly 44% of the adult population.” according to the  U.S. Census Bureau, America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2010. Does that mean we single grad students should take a road trip to the US this reading week and take advantage of the numbers? I mean, nearly half the population down there is single! Well, hear me out before you take drastic measures.

According to Statistics Canada, there are about 4.3 million people of more or less balanced male/female ratio in BC (well, in 2007 anyway). Of them, there are 1.8 million people who are single, 53% of which are males (i.e., sorry guys, there’re less single ladies in BC than there are available guys, but good news is coming. Read on.). Of course, I am assuming both numbers are counts of eligible adults, and not people under the age of 18. Breaking down these numbers a bit, this means about 40.9% of BC’s adult population is single, and no road trip should be necessary to find your significant other.

Time-warping these data to the number of grad students at UBC in 2011, we can realize that we UBC grads make up a total of 0.23% of BC’s population –> (total number of UBC grad students) / (total BC population) = 10,111/4.3million = 0.23%
But, I don’t think this is the correct way to deal with the numbers given the number of singles we know exist in grad school. So, if we assume that 70% of us grad students are singles (7078), then we make up 0.4% of all of BC’s singles population. Quite a whooping number if you ask me.

Interestingly, there are more studious girls than there are guys at UBC it seems. Overall, both masters and doctoral students combined, 54% of the grad student population are female (see guys? I told you there’s some good news), although there’s only 37%(642 people to be exact)  of female population in the Faculty of Applied Science. Ok, so that pretty much means, if you’re into dating fellow grad students (totally single, or just married – if you’re into that) then you could take a convenient pick in UBC from 5470 female or 4641 male students.

Age is also an important factor if you’re looking for a suitor. According to the chart that I’m embedding here for your convenience, you can see that, although people tend to get married later as years go by, people generally get married in their mid to late 20’s. That means it’s important to consider how many of us UBC grads are in that single and looking age. According to UBC stats, about 37% of us are in the age group of 25-29 (19% in the 20-24 group, 21% in the 30-34 group). Hmmp, that’s a problem isn’t it? For those gentlemen looking for a fellow lady grad student of age 20-24 to date, you’d be looking at only 19% of 5470 females (1034). To give you a better perspective on reality, that means you’re actually looking for someone who falls under 1.9% of UBC’s total population — which is 54,125 (undergrad + grad). Provided that you’d be looking for someone who is single, that 1.9% should actually be lower to reflect the reality. Odds are better, but not much better, for ladies looking for male grad students of age 25-29 (1717). It’s about 3.2%.

You could say, ‘hey, don’t worry about the percentages, we’ve got thousands of single grad students at UBC, and we should just meet up!’ But dear fella, I am afraid that these percentages are important because they represent the population density — i.e., the odds of running into an attractive guy (or a girl) who happens to be of age, single, and shares that natural nerdiness of being a grad student is terribly low.

So what are the odds of finding someone within that 1.9% or the 3.2% who will make you happy and you’d be happy to be with?

I won’t calculate those numbers for you, but I think it’s fair to say that it’d be a near miracle to find someone in this world, even if over 40% of us are single.

So long story short, my conclusion from this quantitative data I’ve pulled together from UBC, US, and Canadian stats websites is that those of you who aren’t single are terribly lucky to be so. And the journey of having found someone to call your significant other may have occurred by defeating these terrible odds and making a miracle happen.

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