Missing markets in everything?

Or do the offer curves simply not intersect?:

Just over half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 — 51 percent of them — said they do not have a steady romantic partner, according to data from the General Social Survey released this week. That 2018 figure is up significantly from 33 percent in 2004 — the lowest figure since the question was first asked in 1986 — and up slightly from 45 percent in 2016.

Here is the story, via the excellent Kevin Lewis.


Birth rates will reach new lows. Immigration will have to go up unless Gen-Y and Gen-Z are okay with paying more of our debts without any help.

Trump is really piling on the debt even with no war or financial crisis. These kids won't know what they're in store for until its their turn at the plate. By then it will be too late.

TIL: The national debt crisis started with Trump

Perhaps English is not your first language, but "piling on" indicates there was some of that thing to begin with, it is not implying the start of the pile.

Highest budget deficit ever recorded last month.


I wonder if Polka dot, Dude, and Jan are all the same person.

The new never Trumpets and it's always his faulters creating fake crowds.

They'll stop at nothing ...

I hate my life so much I come to MR and post as several different people?

Jesus, if that's what your pea brain requires to feel good, make up whatever reality you need.

My pea brain thinks that you think, or at least you write, that I am wrong.

Is that correct? :)

That's some kinda response. Technically.

Says every grifter worried about luring more suckers into the government's pyramid schemes.

That pesky arrow of causation. Maybe all that immigration helps drive costs of living up and family formation affordability down.

It doesn't. More immigrants = cheaper, more plentiful services. Your post is just more economically illiterate immigrant-bashing.

...and more expensive, less accessible housing, education, maybe healthcare?

Immigrants can both occupy and build homes, if you let them.

Our capitalist system could learn to be more friendly to families. I'm a capitalist by the way (I hate that I have to say that but this is the internet as it is today!)

A capitalist system doesn't steal money from some groups for the benefit of other groups. We don't have anything remotely resembling a capitalist system, we're socialist.

I put the US down for capitalism but clearly we have differences. What other country in your mind would count as capitalist?

Have you ever visited Scotland?

18-34 ages is so broad a category that I wonder how useful it is at describing the group in question. You've got a bunch of teenagers there fresh in adulthood coupled with people in their early thirties who married, own homes, and have multiple kids. I don't really think it's surprising that on average, just over half of them have no steady romantic partner.

It'd be more useful to split that category down the middle, looking at 18-25 and 26-34 age groups. Especially since the rate among the 35-49 age group is much lower - only 21% of such folks have no steady romantic partner.

You make a good point, but there is a significant change since the 1980's. My impression is that younger people seem to date a lot less than in my day. I don't know why this is, perhaps the availability of easy substitutes for sex (i.e. porn) is part of it.

Or dating and sex are separated out more, thanks to the Internet, which can pair you up with easy hook-ups, both paid and unpaid.

Check out the combination of the two with widespread use of virtual reality in 2025 - 2030...

Dating is difficult. Expensive. Requires a lot of preparation. Uncertainty. Risk taking. Deeply personnal. Often involves drama. Requires self awareness. Requires conversational skills. Requires unspoken negotiations and trust building. Requires setting and adjusting evaluations and expectations. Does best in extended human networks. Implies deferring gratification. Involves significant up front investment with uncertain return. And has a high failure rate.

You know, perfect for contemporary society.

Good post!

I can't believe I actually agree with you, but you are spot on.

I think the our age of the internet and our constant connection to it has profound impacts on human culture. It might be even more "disruptive" than it's apostles realize.

What happens when technology evolves faster than the rate of individual and even cultural adaptation?

Yes the delta shows something but if the decline were all in the 18-25 that would one thing, if it's even across the ages that would be another.

Yes it would be good to see more fine grained data. Though it's then striking how big the number is, if it could be even bigger for 18-25 then you wonder what is going on.

"According to the General Social Survey data, 41 percent of Democrats are without a steady partner, compared with 29 percent of Republicans."

This rings true - Democrats are probably less happy with the world than Republicans.

Republicans are a lot older than Democrats. And older people are more likely to have a steady partner

It seems unlikely that the age difference could explain that huge a difference.

I don't see why you think that when the OP states the difference between 2004 and 2019 is 1.5x larger than that.

The 65+ group is at the 37% level which is well above the 29% for Republicans. And Republican's have higher numbers than Democrats in the 50+ age range.

People who are lonely tend to feel more positive towards strangers. ("Mexicans" these days, or whoever the social scrape goat is meant to be.) So there is self selection going on here.

Is there a loneliness epidemic? What about incels?

Incels need to get off the women-suck grievance train, rebrand themselves as asexuals, and start collecting social capital on the LBGTQABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ gravy train.

Instead they are demanding government pay for prostitutes.

That is the only humane thing to do. Sex and love are important fir all humans, they are human rights, like healthcare, food, housing, etc and as a humane and compassionate nation we should provide them. Anyone who disagrees is a deplorable and a Trumpist.

Incelism is highly correlated with support for Trump. Maybe it's the mutual love of prostitutes?

Trump, Progressives, and now apparently incels, are alike in always wanting someone else to foot the bill.

And also the entire Republican party now. Whatever Grandpa Big Mac says goes!

Wouldn't it make more sense for incels to become prostitutes?

Because women will PAY to have sex with these men who cannot get laid for free?

I didn't say anything about women.

If incels are demanding the government pay for prostitutes, that's many steps up from demanding government organized rape. That's what some are in favor of, although for my peace of mind I like to pretend it's only perhaps three people in the world and they have lots of sock puppets.

Outside of the internet, do these people even exist?

It has to be less than 3% of the population (by survey metrics), and some large % of those have to be for religious reasons.

My general impression is that it's a tiny population with some form of autism combined with depression, and it has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with withdrawal and avoidance of socializing.

My guess is this is solved for via genetic engineering within 100 years.

Sexbots are available now, although they are crude and expensive. Give it 10 years.

Then they may realize their lack of sex is a symptom and not the root problem.

Such is life in Trump's America.

You're funny

Thank you, but the point is, aren't the troubles and tribulations Americans have been experienced linked, at least to some extent, to their regime?

Talk to me Thiago, whining Brazilian, looking to blame the USA for all your problems.

I blame Americans dor their own problems.

Same problem in Brazil. I read an article about it in Veja some time ago. There are many single working Brazilian women who can't find a partner. There are many single mothers. Several of my Brazilian wife's nieces are in this category. One of them has decided to have a baby at the age of 35 without a husband.

Something is going on, but I think we might be too close to it to see it.

I might add, Brazil now has an obesity epidemic like the US. The days of those gorgeous slender Brazilian girls from Ipanema are over. As if average being over wasn't bad enough, now even the Brazilian chicks are fat ... and picky.

Brazil still has lots of slender people. President Captain Bolsonaro, as he pointed once, was trained to kill, he is a lean, mean machine. Meanwhile, America's President is overweighted.

President Fuhrer Captain Duce Bolsanaro, please.

He is neither a Fuher nor a Duce, he is the President and a Captain, special operations. He went through jungle training and parachuting training. He is a national hero and recently was awarded an Amrmy medal for having saved a soldier under his command in 1978. Meanwhile, Trump conned gullible business partners.

Was trained to kill, but failed to do so when he was stabbed in the guts. What's up with that? Movie Steven Seagal would have broken every bone in his attacker's body and he's a fat slob. It's almost as if Jair Bolsonaro is just a man and not a fantasy.

It is not a movie. It is real. He was attacked by a leftist terrorist when he was being carried by his followers while he was campagning. It is not different from Kennedy being shot by leftist Oswald or Mckinley being shot by anarchist Czolgosz. It has little to do with a soldier's role. During his time in the Army he acted in many important operations, and, as I said, saved a soldier under his command from drowning.

In the age of Tinder, cheap easy casual sex, and the shrieking harpies of #MeToo, what man in his right mind would want to have a partner?

I think the main factor you omitted is porn.

Maybe the problem is the American regime. A impoverished and distrustful populace finds it much more difficult to create lasting, meaningful ties of affection such as those of friendship, marriage or courtship. Everyday, we hear about Americans who killed their friends, classmates, co-workers, relatives, etc. Americans can't trust one another and must bear guns all time lest their fellow countrymen kill them.

Porn is part of the problem, the other is the emancipation of women. Tinder data shows a divergence between stated and revealed preferences of women - they are looking for hot guys and casual sex. They also think most guys are unattractive - 80% of the women are having sex with 20% of the men, the rest of the men are masterbation to porn. The women that would like a partner all want the same men.

Maybe we are back to tournament mating.

Jesus ...

This is obviously false.

From a data science perspective, the hilarity is the trap of: what % of women are using Tinder to find sex partners? What % on a regular basis?

And why do you think they're representative of the general population of hetero women?

This kind of thing screams 'I don't have female friends and I believe everything on the internet.' Average number of lifetime sexual partners is 7, and that's heavily weighted by people with large counts. Median number of lifetime sexual partners for women in the US is four.


Four only? Well that does explain some of the inexperience I noted back in the day.

7? Whoa! I should STFU! I am way over average. All of a sudden, I feel pretty good!

News flash: nen carexaboutvohysuxal appearance too, arguably a good deal more than women do. So no, 80% of the women aren't hooking up with 20% of the men. It's more like 20% of each sex- the "hot" percentage if each- are having 80% if the (non-marital, promiscuous)
sex period because the 80% have gir too choosy about it and won't settle for someone more their type If they can't get porno stars and fashion models.

Of course all people are shallow, the difference is that supply of willing casual male partners is much larger than demand, so more women can be choosy/fulfilled in that regard.

Tinder doesn't offer easy casual sex to men.

The only easy causal sex for males I ever heard about was same-sex cruising public restrooms. Everything else is a myth.

What about college?

Yes, economics can explain everything. There's good reason: God created the universe and He was an economist. How do I know that? Incentives, God understood the role that incentives play in determining or modifying behavior. We had that lesson several days ago. In this particular instance, has there been a change in the amount supplied or demanded, or did the supply or demand curve shift? Would the former or the latter be more likely the result of the intervention of God? Contrary to popular belief, young people are having less sex not more. Is that because of movement on the supply or demand curve, or because of a shift in the supply or demand curve?

Women want more from men, because women are advantaged in our post-feminist society.

Men have less to offer, on average, in this post-feminist society.

Men have low elasticity of demand for women, and value attributes (i.e. appearance) that can be roughly independent of socioeconomic status.

Women have high elasticity of demand for men, and value (almost to total exclusion) attributes that are dependent on socioeconomic status.

It really shouldn't be surprising that women are finding men less and less attractive, and that fewer and fewer men have any access to romantic relationships with women.

I agree with you except for this:

"Women have high elasticity of demand for men, and value (almost to total exclusion) attributes that are dependent on socioeconomic status."

Women are attracted to men, for sex, for their physical attributes independent of their social status.

As a female colleague of mine put it more succinctly, "women are dogs just like men". I don't know, but there it is.

As for selection criteria for a spouse, I think social status is important.

Average is definitely over for guys. There will be suicides and occasional mass murders - frustrated loser men will run amok.

“Women are attracted to men, for sex, for their physical attributes independent of their social status.”

I posit that (most) women are indeed attracted to (some) men. But perhaps we differ beyond that. Women favour sex tinged with love tinged with attraction ... and haven’t we learned that this attraction component for women is driven by status? (Successful men, even if they don’t exactly resemble George Clooney, appeal to women.)

Nope. Even a high status man like Trump has to pay six figures for sex with women well past their prime, that is, unless Putin is paying.

Has Trump ever been high status?

Bravo rayward. Your first three lines are gold. I'll use them when needed and have a good laugh.

God created man and gave all creation the first commandment (in Genesis and repeated a number of times), Be Fruitful And Multiply.

To foster this, God endowed men and women with sex drives. In my very limited experience, women's drives are more easily controlled than men's. The new breed may be different.

Regarding demand, incentives and supply relationships. Formerly, women (who almost always out-lived their spouses) eventually controlled 90+% of the wealth. On the supply side, they continue to control 100% of the vaginas.

It's genetics and selection, not "god". Jesus Christ you guys, this is basic stuff..

Then don’t evoke Jesus! But you are correct.

Interesting description which leaves open some questions of calibration:

What if you are steady, but your partner isn't.

What if neither are steady.

What if men are not more steady than women, or reverse.

Maybe the composition and mix matters in matching markets when you give an aggregate statistic because you may be missing something.

Most of us (me 40 years) married old farts are not in a romantic relationship, either.

An associate, who is divorced after 15 years with two daughters, asked what it was like being married 35 years. I replied "It's pure hatred." I was half joking.

cue Ed McMahon... hi-yooooo

I think we've been fooled by our notions of romantic love and love partners for love. I think marriage is more like a business contract. This leads to a lot of misery. If the business agreement is not good, or it runs it's course - the kids move out and the romatic love is gone - but you expect it to last forever, them you are miserable. I am in that situation now, only our kids aren't ready to move it. So, my wife terminated the marriage, unofficially, about one year ago. However, we are still living in the same small house, because of the kids and we can't afford to live apart. It's like waiting on death row. On a more positive note, it is an opportunity to practice mindfulness.

I practice often.

No wonder your comments are so grumpy. You should stay off the internet and take care of yourself first.

There are a lot of people who would be happier divorced. I understand staying together for the benefit of kids, but not for the purpose of making yourself miserable.

The paradox of choice.

I just read through the comments and it's clear people are not recognizing the importance of the word "steady". With online dating apps, there is almost zero switching and discovery costs for finding a new partner, so standard economics models would seem to predict that along the "steady" dimension there would be a reduction.

Completely agree - the key word here is "steady". Just coming out of that age bracket I have quite a few 20-something friends and it's ridiculous how different it is from even 10 years ago. With no switching costs and few if any incentives for a steady relationship they're more like bees than birds.

It's not just that. Fewer and fewer people are having sex:

Or to put it differently 51% of the population are disease vectors.

How is the antibiotic resistance thing going? Are there lots of new ones in the pipe? They are going to be needed.

No, they aren't. Most are incels, who are statiscally safer than Catholic priests. Such is life in Trump's America.

Meh, I'd attribute this to the long march towards realizing a new structure around coupling up that's more gender egalitarian and based on individual choice than what has come before. Which may be morally better, but which most people are not well adapted to.

In the old days for humans, it was mostly a case of being a person who was admired or at least approved in your group, and then having a marriage arranged for you, or less commonly on the male side being a dominant, nasty individual who grabbed what they wanted with no scruples and the power to do so.

Even in the '70s, probably a lot more people fixing up a friend with a friend than today.

Our current norms are more focused on individual men without social support taking the initiative and charming choosy females, with increasingly complex rules about what men should do or say (so not to "mansplain", commit sexual impropriety, etc.). That will take more of a toll at first on low confidence, low extraversion, low charm males (humble quiet "salt of the earth" males), but they're just the canary in the coal mine and this will increasingly place a toll on the whole population. Again, may all be morally better, but I doubt most people are well adapted to playing this game, or on the male side that they enjoy it very much.

If that were true, the more traditional culture's will just quickly out breed the new cultures. Even averaging 1 more kid per generation will drastically change the equation in 40-60 years. It will all work out in the end.

Then how will the West feed them? Oil-rich countries and Mormons and Amish aside, the size of populations of "traditional cultures" is limited to how many of them the West can feed.

No they aren't you idiot. Southeat Asia feeds itself quite well. Food self-sufficiency is more and more the norm.

What? Philippines, Myanmar, Laos and Timor Lest? Yeah, I can imagine those thriving countries as the vanguard of mankind. As someone poi ted out, American incles are getting funnier and funnier.

You forgot Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. They are the future not Brazil.

Maybe, not sure how sustainable it is anyway, even internally. Possibly in the long run it might go like that, if the defection rate away from the "traditional culture" is low enough, the relative size of the populations is right, the reproductive differential is fairly strong, etc, and the "modernized" populations stick to their guns and don't change the script again (which maybe they won't as this is all a fairly recent thing).

Cultures don't breed; individual people do. And cultures are also not set in stone. I may have gave my great grandparents'genes, but I don't live in the same world they did, and for more reasons than just indoor plumbing, antibiotics and the internet.

Is this possibly related to the steep, sustained decline in men's testosterone levels?

None of the comments have asked the obvious question so far, namely how many of the people lacking a romantic partner actually want one.

Most of them, as constant internet whinning about how top models won't sleep with them shows. I have not seen them, but there must be somewhere lots of posts of women complaining male top models of something don't want to sleep with them.

Sex and partnership are not the same, as many responders have pointed out. The stat presented said nothing about a lack of sex.

Do you think people who want sex and can't get it -- and complain loudly about that here and elsewhere -- are getting partnership instead? From whom, their moms?! Let's be blunt: the American Empire is collapsing.

No, Thiago, I mean that the study asked how many people are not in romantic relationships and did not ask how many of these people are in this state involuntarily. You have heard of casual sex, have you not? The study did not focus on lack of sex - only on lack of partnership. Pay attention.

Americans who complain of lack of sex (lots and lots of Americans) are, by definition, complaining of lack of partnership because, in America, partnership implies sex.

Thank you for this example of a self-refuting argument

Denial is not just a river.

Brazil is not just a shithole.

The distribution matters too. Some people are having a lot more sex than they would have since 2004, while others are having none.

All the crazies aren't getting enough drama from relationships, so they turn to politics.

Men and women have too high of expectations for a partner compared to the available options. Too much hollywood marketing and porn raising expectations on top of increasing percentages of overweight/obese + androgynization of men and women, both of which lower the average attractiveness level on offer.

Fewer people qualify as partners these days.

a) People far less healthy (i.e., more overweight and obesity), which means far fewer are acceptable romantic partners, and

b) Women now outcredential men and they are not interested in men who aren't as credentialed as they are.

"Data conclusively shows that the "incel" view of sex is wrong: Few American men are celibate, and most are monogamous within a given year. " https://twitter.com/Noahpinion/status/1106095165955964928

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