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Hey, SF, looking for a life partner IRL? Census data can help!

Tinder not quite doing the trick? Never fear, the stalwart U.S. Census Bureau is here to lend a hand. New Census data showing the variability in gender distribution between ZIP codes can help San Franciscans seeking to meet a partner in real life (how quaint!) improve their statistical odds.

Individuals seeking women should venture to the western side of the city, where women outnumber men by more than 15% in some ZIP codes, according to the 2016 to 2020 American Community Survey results. 

Those seeking men should stay away from the Marina (sorry, straight women who frequent Balboa Cafe) and, instead, venture south of Market Street to SoMa or the Mission. The data does not take sexual orientation into account, though: The ZIP code with the greatest imbalance of men over women includes, predictably, the Castro, with its decades-long history as a mecca for gay men. (Ostensibly, most people who identify as nonbinary would be labeled under the sex they were assigned at birth.)

For those who prefer app-based dating, it will be comforting to know that on the whole, SF is more or less gender-balanced: For every 100 females, there are 104.1 males, according to the data.

Apart from LGBTQ+ people self-segregating to find love, why else would a small city exhibit such pronounced differences by gender? One tiny Downtown ZIP code (94104) centered on Montgomery Street seems like a frat zone, with a staggering 58% more men than women, but it’s a skyscraper-filled commercial district with a tiny population (400-some residents) that could easily be skewed by a single SRO or a handful of luxury condos.

Why the western half of the city is seemingly so hospitable to women in ways that other neighborhoods aren’t is a bit of a mystery. The Presidio—admittedly another low-population ZIP code, with barely 4,000 inhabitants—has seven women for every six men, and, analyzing a map breaking SF down by gender against one breaking it down by age, the neighborhood skews toward younger women. (The two ZIP codes that comprise the Sunset, however, are older and more female than the city average.) 

And that Downtown ZIP code with a small population of men and virtually no women? It’s older and far wealthier than the city average, perhaps suggesting that a few buildings have had their upper floors converted to become bachelor pads in the sky.  

Astrid Kane can be reached at

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