# Estimating the number of potentially compatible partners in your area

Suppose you’re looking for a date. You likely have an idea of the characteristics you’d like the person to have, and the ones you would prefer they not have. The question then becomes: How many such people are there near you? Having an accurate sense of this number could give you a rough idea of how likely it is you’ll find a date in your geographic area.

In Section 5.1 of *The Calculus of Happiness *I discuss how this problem is like searching for aliens (at least mathematically), in the sense that a famous equation called the Drake Equation that estimates the number of intelligent civilizations in our galaxy can be adapted to help estimate how many potentially compatible dates there are in a given geographic region. I quantify the estimate in equation (5.1) of *The Calculus of Happiness*. The calculator below uses that equation to estimate the number of potential partners using a variety of inputs that most people would think about when consider whether to date someone. These are:

- The population of the area you’re looking for love in
- The fraction of that population matching your desired sex (male, female)
- The fraction that lies within your desired age range
- The fraction that’s attained your desired level of education
- The fraction that’s amenable to dating
- The fraction of those people you’d actually consider dating
- Finally, the fraction that would consider dating you

Feel free to input your best guesses for these values into the **green** cells below (with the exception of the first green cell (the population), all other inputs should be numbers between 0 and 1, since they’re fractions of a whole), and the calculator will estimate the number of potentially compatible partners in your geographic area. (To get a more accurate estimate, you can use websites like American Fact Finder on census.gov to help pin down your city’s population, etc.) NOTE: Don’t be depressed by the output of the calculator; in the book I discuss an article in *The Wall Street Journal* of one man’s attempt at this calculation that yielded just 26 women matching his criteria out of the nearly 4 *million* near him.

## Limitations

This calculator omits other characteristics you may consider important (e.g., smoker or non-smoker). It also involves a lot of guesswork, even if you use relatively accurate data from a site like American Fact Finder. All of this is to say that the estimate produced has a large error range.