Updated June 19, 2014

Study: Best Cities for Financially Savvy Singles

Read more about Financial Literacy Month

In this economy, financial issues play an important role in relationships – even ones that may not have started yet. If you're single and financially savvy, you're probably looking to find someone of a similar mindset. Our tally of the best cities for meeting that special someone emphasizes financial considerations like median income and credit score, to show which places give singles the best chance of finding a mate who is on solid financing footing.

Study Methodology

  • Percentage of one-person households under 65
  • Median household income
  • Average credit score

We began with the assumption that one of the most important features of a city to someone who is single is the availability of other singles. To get a feel for the number of singles in a given area, we used Census data showing the percentage of one-person households in each U.S. state. For most cities, the state data was used, though city-specific data was used when available. From this percentage, we subtracted the percentage of one-person households composed of people 65 and over.

Next, we looked at median household income. This information indicates the quality of life in a city, especially when it’s compared to the cost of living. A city with a cost of living below the national average and median income above the national average will probably have residents with a lot of disposable income and financial security.

Finally, we looked at average credit score rankings. A high average credit score in a city indicates that most people in the city have good credit. The financial health of potential partners is becoming more and more important to singles, with some even asking their dates for their credit scores upfront. If most people in your city have a high credit score, chances are good that the answer to this question won’t end the night before it starts.

10 Best Cities for Singles

The combination of other available singles, high income, and good credit creates the ideal environment (from a financial standpoint) for singles in the U.S. Here are the best places for finding that environment:

1. Cambridge, MA (in Greater Boston)

  • Percentage of one-person households under 65: 17%
  • Median household income: $69,227
  • Average credit score: 779 / National rank: 7

Cambridge tops the list because of its high standard of living and the abundance of good credit in the area. Nearby Boston has the seventh highest credit score average in the country. The median household income is just under $70,000 – well over the national median, which sits at about $50,000. This surplus in income compensates for the higher cost of living in the Boston/Cambridge region – about 32.5% above the national average.

2. Alexandria, VA (in Washington, DC metropolitan area)

  • Percentage of one-person households under 65: 26.9%
  • Median household income: $77,095
  • Average credit score: 766 / National rank: 29

The Alexandria area and nearby cities Washington, DC, and Arlington, VA, collectively have the highest percentage of one-person households in the country. The city of Alexandria also has the highest median household income of the cities noted here – more than 50% above the national median. With a cost of living only about 40% above the national average, that income goes further in this area than it does in some of the more costly cities on the East Coast.

3. Lincoln, NE

  • Percentage of one-person households under 65: 18.3%
  • Median household income: $44,702
  • Average credit score: 774 / National rank: 14

Lincoln’s income is one of the lowest on this list and its credit score is in the middle of the pack, but it’s one of only three cities (Cambridge and Alexandria being the other two) to have a relative median income higher than its relative cost of living as compared to national averages. This means the quality of life – and probably disposable income – is higher here than for residents in the other cities.

4. Madison, WI

  • Percentage of one-person households under 65: 18%
  • Median household income: $49,595
  • Average credit score: 785 / National rank: 3

Madison is a college town with one of the highest credit score averages in the country. It’s third on the national list and second here, exceeded only by Minneapolis’ score of 789. The median household income is just a notch below the national median, and the cost of living is in line with the national average as well.

5. Sioux Falls, SD

  • Percentage of one-person households under 65: 18.5%
  • Median household income: $47,040
  • Average credit score: 778 / National rank: 9

The state of South Dakota has one of the highest percentages of single households under age 65 in the country, and Sioux Falls as a city has the ninth highest average credit score. Cost of living and income are each about 94%, or 6% below, national numbers.

6. Seattle, WA

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington

  • Percentage of one-person households under 65: 20.3%
  • Median household income: $60,843
  • Average credit score: 776 / National rank: 13

Seattle’s percentage of one-person households under 65 is second only to the Alexandria area, and its median income is third highest. The only West Coast city to make the list, Seattle’s average credit score of 776 is good enough to be the 13th highest nationally.

7. Peoria, IL

  • Percentage of one-person households under 65: 18.1%
  • Median household income: $44,893
  • Average credit score: 778 / National rank: 8

The median household income in Peoria is among the lowest in this collection of cities, but it’s among the top 10 cities in the country in credit score average. Located about 2.5 hours outside Chicago in the middle of the state, Peoria outranks Chicago in credit score (8th vs. 41st nationally) and has a much lower cost of living.

8. Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota

  • Percentage of one-person households under 65: 18.3%
  • Median household income: $49,595
  • Average credit score: 787 / National rank: 2

Minneapolis ranks second nationally for highest credit score just behind the tiny city of Wausau, WI. High credit scores and a statewide percentage of one-person households toward the top of the national standings get Minneapolis on this list, but cost of living could be a problem. The median household income is 10% below the national median, while the cost of living is about 11% above the national average.

9. Denver, CO

Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado

  • Percentage of one-person households under 65: 18.4%
  • Median household income: $46,410
  • Average credit score: 766 / National Rank: 31

Colorado as a state has the fourth highest percentage of one-person households in the country, and Denver specifically was cited in the Census as one of the top 10 cities for single person households. Denver and nearby Aurora both have median incomes below the national median, but Highlands Ranch, a Denver suburb, has one of the highest median household incomes in the country at almost $110,000.

10. Kansas City, MO

  • Percentage of one-person households under 65: 18.2%
  • Median household income: $41,999
  • Average credit score: 760 / National rank: 44

Kansas City’s average credit score is the lowest on this list, but it still ranks 44th nationally, and the state of Missouri ranks 15th nationally in percentage of one person households. It fills the final spot because it performs solidly in all categories even though it’s spectacular in none. Kansas City’s may have a quality of life problem similar to that of Minneapolis, however – its median income is about 17% below the national median, while cost of living is just 2% below the national average.


Since the goal of this list was to rank the cities from a standpoint of financial friendliness to singles, most lifestyle considerations were left out. For many singles, these considerations will be just as important as median income and credit score, if not more so. Additionally, since affordability factored into the rankings so strongly, many of the more metropolitan cities like New York and San Francisco were not considered. This resulted in a list skewed toward cities in rural regions, which for some people is less than ideal.

The factors used in compiling this list not only indicate the likelihood of finding a financially suitable partner in a given city but also give a glimpse into the quality of life singles are likely to enjoy. A high median income means you’ll probably be earning a better salary than you would elsewhere. And though credit score and income are certainly not the most important considerations in a new relationship, financial health is always important to keep in mind no matter what your stage of life.

Here are the sources we used to compile this study:

Leah Norris is a research analyst at CreditDonkey, a diamond jeweler comparison and financial education website. Write to Leah Norris at leah@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped young adults make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

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