Big To Do
About Us

“Saving Love Lives The World Over!” e-mail e-mail to a friend in need

January 15, 2010

Why am I single? Do the math. Srsly, do the MATH.

Filed under: Treats — posted by Kristine @ 11:26 am

The really rather cute Peter Backus, a Ph.D. candidate in economics in England, has boldly attempted to solve one of the great mysteries of the universe, otherwise known as “Why I don’t have a girlfriend.”

To do so, he employs The Drake Equation, which “is used to estimate the number of highly evolved civilisations that might exist in our galaxy,” he writes. “I have used this approach to estimate the number of potential girlfriends in the UK. The results are not encouraging. The probability of finding love in the UK is only about 100 times better than the probability of finding intelligent life in our galaxy.”

The equation was developed in 1961 by Dr. Frank Drake at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia. The equation is generally specified as:

G = R • fP • ne • fl • fi • fe • L

G = The number of civilizations capable of interstellar communication
R = The rate of formation of stars capable of supporting life (stars like our Sun)
ne = The average number of planets similar to Earth per planetary system
fl = The fraction of the Earth-like planets supporting life of any kind
fi = The fraction of life-supporting planets where intelligent life develops
fc = The fraction of planets with intelligent life that are capable of interstellar communication (those which have electromagnetic technology like radio or TV)
L = The length of time such communicating civilizations survive

Backus makes the following adjustments:

G = N* • fm • fl • fA • fU • fB

G = The number of potential girlfriends.
R = The rate of formation of people in the UK (i.e. population growth).
fW = The fraction of people in the UK who are women.
fL = The fraction of women in the UK who live in London.
fA = The fraction of the women in London who are age-­appropriate.
fU = The fraction of age-­appropriate women in London with a university education.
fB = The fraction of university educated, age-­appropriate women in London who I find physically attractive.
L = The length of time in years that I have been alive thus making an encounter with a potential girlfriend possible.

With me so far? I am now going to attempt to apply Backus’ equation to my chance of finding a man in New York — with the following caveats.

G = The number of potential boyfriends (rather than girlfriends as I like the men folk)

Since Backus simplified the R in Drake’s equation by replacing it with N* (the population of the entire UK), I will also simplify for the estimated population of the entire United States as of 2008. So, N* = 304,059,724

Backus’s fw = the fraction of people in the UK who are female. Therefore, adjusting for my purposes of the fraction of males in the U.S. I will use Fm to denote this number. Fm = the fraction of people in the U.S. who are male [0.493]

FL = the fraction of men in the U.S. who live in NY

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s estimates for 2008, the population of the state of New York is 19,490,297 – 51.5% of which are female. Therefore, 48.5% or [0.485] are male. By multiplying the fraction of males in NY [M1] with the total population of NY [P1] we will get the total male population of NY [TM1].

TM1 = M1 • P1
TM1 = [.485] • [19,490,297]
TM1 = 9,452,794.045

Now that we have the total number of men living in NY, we must now solve for [FL] to find the fraction of U.S. men living in NY.

To do that we take the U.S. Census Bureau’s estimates for 2008’s population of the U.S. 304,059,724 – 50.7% of which are female. Using the above equation, again we solve for TM.

TM = M • P
TM = [.493] • [304,059,724]
TM = 149,901,443.932

To find FL, we want to know of the total men in the U.S., what fraction lives in NY. So, taking TM1 and TM, we use the following equation:

TM1 = FL • TM

FL = TM1 / TM

FL = 9,452,794.045 / 149,901,443.932

FL = .06306005997706 (approximately) or 0.063

FA = The fraction of men in NY who are age appropriate

As Backus notes on his website, I would also like my boyfriend to be close in age to me, but as Census Bureau information doesn’t fall exactly as I would like, I will cast a wider net for purposes of this equation and include males between the ages of 25-44. The total population of NY between the ages of 25-44 is 5,382,487. Assuming the same percentage of men within this age group is comparable to the general population then 48.5% are male. To figure out the exact number of age-appropriate [AA] males:

AA = 5,382,487 • [.485].
AA = 2,610,506.195

To find FA, we must then take AA and find out what fraction it is to the total male population of NY.

FA = 2,610,506.195 / 9,452,794.045
FA = 0.27616238993177 or 0.276

FU = The fraction of age-appropriate men in NY with a university education I’ll admit it, I’m as much of an elitist as Backus (see his PDF) and want a man with an education. (Obviously, I can do math, so it would be nice if my significant other, you know, could too.) 27.4% of New Yorkers over the age of 25 have at least a bachelors degree or higher. For the sake of brevity, we will assume that this fraction can approximately be applied to the age-appropriate men of New York. Therefore,


FB = The fraction of university educated, age-appropriate men in New York who I find physically attractive.

For simplicity’s sake (and because my brain may soon implode), I will be as generous as Backus and say that I find 1 in 20 or 5% [0.05] of age-appropriate men in New York attractive.


L = The length of time in years that I have been alive thus making an encounter with a potential boyfriend possible. I am older [33 – yay!] than Backus so in this case, L = 33

Finally, if we are all still sane, we plug all the numbers into the equation.

G = N* • fm • fL • fA • fU • fB

G = 304,059,724 • [0.493] • [0.063] • [0.276] • [0.274] •[0.05]

G = 35,708.862407127739

If I round up, to a solid, full man number, I get the following:

G = 35,709

OK! If I am to follow Backus’ argument, there are potentially 35,709 men in the U.S. who satisfy the minimum criteria for being my boyfriend. That’s .011% of the U.S. population in 2008 and .018% of New York’s population. Though, that seems a little odd considering Backus’ percentages are reversed with the whole of the UK having a higher percentage meeting his minimum criteria than simply all of London. It would make sense to have a higher likelihood of Londoners meeting his minimum criteria seeing as one of said criteria was to be located in London.

What I don’t get is where [L] comes into the equation. Somehow, age plays a factor in the calculation, but where exactly does the age factor actually become important? Perhaps it became irrelevant after N* replaced R in Drake’s equation? Basically, after spending an afternoon doing the math and looking for Census Bureau statistics, I have to conclude that I would have exponentially increased my likelihood of finding a boyfriend by actually going outdoors (or hey, online) and actually meeting. After all, it only takes 1 in 35,709. With 401.9 people per square mile, that’s not bad at all.


  1. Yes! Finally something about money saved.

    Comment by banks in prattville al — June 27, 2017 @ 10:31 pm

  2. Everything is very open with a precise description of the issues.
    It was definitely informative. Your site is extremely helpful.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by bayareacbs.com — June 28, 2017 @ 10:51 pm

  3. Today, I went to the beachfront with my kids. I found
    a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She
    placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.

    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

    Comment by innovative security service — June 29, 2017 @ 3:36 am

  4. Link exchange is nothing else except it is just placing the other person’s weblog link on your page at proper place and other person will also do same in support
    of you.

    Comment by www.pension-gutshof-mihla.de — June 29, 2017 @ 11:23 am

  5. Provera For Sale cialis Priligy Natural

    Comment by KelGuibrise — June 29, 2017 @ 11:42 am

  6. I have read so many content regarding the blogger lovers but this article is really a good paragraph,
    keep it up.

    Comment by vitamin otak anak — July 1, 2017 @ 12:17 am

  7. Thanks very nice blog!

    Comment by car key systems — July 4, 2017 @ 6:05 pm

  8. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.

    Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! By the way,
    how could we communicate?

    Comment by dog health problems — July 5, 2017 @ 5:57 am

  9. I’ve been browsing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.

    It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did,
    the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

    Comment by http://www.core-motorsports.org/social/index.php?page=User&userID=91927 — July 6, 2017 @ 2:15 am

  10. For Sale Free Shipping Macrobid Cheap Overseas generic cialis Will Cephalexin Treat Syphilis

    Comment by KelGuibrise — July 7, 2017 @ 11:45 am

  11. This is my first time visit at here and i am genuinely happy
    to read everthing at single place.

    Comment by Ariane Slinger — July 7, 2017 @ 5:59 pm

  12. How Safe Is Kamagra cialis Bronchitis Zithromax

    Comment by Chaspouche — July 8, 2017 @ 1:10 pm

  13. Kamagra Vendita Camerun buy viagra Varicocele Propecia

    Comment by KennNubs — July 8, 2017 @ 1:30 pm

  14. What’s up to every , since I am actually keen of reading this web site’s post
    to be updated daily. It contains nice stuff.

    Comment by Free JAV Uncensored — July 8, 2017 @ 7:05 pm

  15. Excellent way of describing, and nice post to get data regarding my presentation subject
    matter, which i am going to present in university.

    Comment by cách chữa mụn nhọt ở mông — July 10, 2017 @ 12:01 pm

  16. Topimax Without A Prescription Canada viagra Amoxicillin Order From Canada

    Comment by KelGuibrise — July 11, 2017 @ 11:19 pm

  17. http://www.comprarlikes.com.es/
    Hellо Ƭheгe. I found youг blog tһe use of msn. Thіѕ іs an extremely smartly
    ԝritten article. І wіll ƅe sսre t᧐ bookmark іt ɑnd сome baсk to read extra օf уour uѕeful info.
    Thаnk you for tһe post. I’ll ⅾefinitely

    Here is my web blog; trabina

    Comment by trabina — July 13, 2017 @ 9:28 pm

  18. Generic Viagra For Sale In Usa buy viagra Priligy Informacion Para Prescribir

    Comment by Chaspouche — July 13, 2017 @ 10:41 pm

  19. Acquisto Cialis Prezzo viagra Taking Amoxicillin On An Empty Stomach

    Comment by KennNubs — July 14, 2017 @ 2:26 am

  20. Heya are using WordPress for your blog platform?

    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started
    and set up my own. Do you need any html coding knowledge to make your own blog?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Comment by fredericovieiracarneiro.com.br — July 14, 2017 @ 10:53 pm

  21. Everything is very open with a precise description of the challenges.
    It was definitely informative. Your site is very helpful.
    Thank you for sharing!

    Comment by Lelio Vieira Carneiro — July 15, 2017 @ 2:51 am

  22. It’s hard to find experienced people on this subject, but you seem like
    you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

    Comment by Umanizzare presidios — July 15, 2017 @ 6:10 pm

  23. I am genuinely delighted to glance at this web site posts which carries tons of useful
    facts, thanks for providing such data.

    Comment by Luiz Gastão Bittencourt da Silva — July 16, 2017 @ 2:31 am

  24. It’s hard to come by well-informed people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!


    Comment by www.gotplant.co.za — July 16, 2017 @ 4:46 am

  25. you’re in point of fact a just right webmaster. The web
    site loading speed is incredible. It sort of feels that you’re doing any unique trick.

    Moreover, The contents are masterpiece. you have performed a fantastic process on this subject!

    Comment by Luiz Gastão Bittencourt da Silva — July 16, 2017 @ 5:21 am

  26. I have been browsing online greater than 3 hours today, yet
    I by no means discovered any attention-grabbing article like
    yours. It is lovely price enough for me. In my view, if all site owners and
    bloggers made excellent content material as you did, the internet will likely be a
    lot more useful than ever before.

    Comment by Silvia Odete Morani Massad — July 16, 2017 @ 7:02 pm

  27. Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful post. Thanks for providing this

    Comment by Silvia Odete Morani Massad — July 16, 2017 @ 9:21 pm

  28. I’m not sure where you’re getting your info, but good topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.
    Thanks for magnificent information I was looking for this information for my mission.

    Comment by commons.wikimedia.org — July 18, 2017 @ 6:16 am

  29. Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I’ve read stuff from.

    Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book
    mark this web site.

    Comment by Luiz Gastao Bittencourt da Silva — July 18, 2017 @ 7:58 pm

  30. Voltaren Forte Medication viagra Pharmcy Online

    Comment by KelGuibrise — July 19, 2017 @ 2:19 pm

  31. Very descriptive article, I liked that bit. Will there be a part 2?

    Comment by pt-br.facebook.com — July 23, 2017 @ 12:30 pm

  32. Hi it’s me, I am also visiting this site on a
    regular basis, this website is in fact nice
    and the people are actually sharing good thoughts.

    Comment by Troy — July 23, 2017 @ 10:25 pm

  33. Right away I am going to do my breakfast, after having my breakfast coming again to read additional news.

    Comment by Mauro Luiz Soares Zamprogno — July 23, 2017 @ 11:36 pm

  34. Keep on writing, great job!

    Comment by Georges Sadala Rihan — July 24, 2017 @ 1:55 pm

  35. Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this information.

    Comment by Glam Seamless — July 25, 2017 @ 4:30 am

  36. I’d like to find out more? I’d like to find out more details.

    Comment by Tesha — July 26, 2017 @ 2:46 am

  37. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked
    submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to
    say wonderful blog!

    Comment by https://plus.google.com/ — August 5, 2017 @ 10:24 am

  38. I am truly glad to read this weblog posts which includes
    lots of valuable facts, thanks for providing these kinds of information.

    Comment by Fred — August 6, 2017 @ 4:02 am

  39. Terrific article! That is the type of info that are supposed to be shared across
    the net. Shame on Google for now not positioning this put up upper!
    Come on over and seek advice from my website .
    Thanks =)

    Comment by Lelio Vieira Carneiro — August 7, 2017 @ 6:07 am

  40. I blog frequently and I genuinely appreciate your information. The
    article has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark
    your website and keep checking for new information about once per
    week. I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.

    Comment by http://cmfans.cn — August 7, 2017 @ 6:32 pm

  41. Nice answers in return of this query with solid arguments and telling the whole thing regarding that.

    Comment by https://to.ly/1bv0S — August 7, 2017 @ 7:55 pm

  42. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this
    board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out much.
    I hope to give something back and help others like you aided

    Comment by Ashley — August 9, 2017 @ 7:11 pm

  43. You actually make it seem really easy together with your presentation however
    I find this matter to be actually something that I feel I might by no means understand.

    It sort of feels too complex and extremely extensive for me.
    I’m looking forward on your subsequent post, I’ll attempt to get the cling
    of it!

    Comment by James Frazer Mann — August 15, 2017 @ 7:14 pm

  44. I am sure this article has touched all the internet users, its really really pleasant piece of writing on building up new weblog.

    Comment by www.qhcl.gov.cn — August 16, 2017 @ 10:33 pm

  45. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post’s to be
    just what I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to
    write content for you? I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on a
    lot of the subjects you write in relation to here.

    Again, awesome web log!

    Comment by James Frazer Mann — August 20, 2017 @ 6:39 pm

  46. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that
    I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and
    I hope you write again soon!

    Comment by theuniszen.nl — August 21, 2017 @ 5:29 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

**Mean or otherwise out-of-line comments will be deleted. That’s just how we roll.


blog | advice | comics | animation | goodies | to do | archive | about us

Breakup Girl created by Lynn Harris & Chris Kalb
© 2008 Just Friends Productions, Inc.
| privacy policy
Cool Aid!

Important Breakup Girl Maxim:
Breakup Girl Sez


Powered by WordPress