The City As A Marriage Market

Science is unmistakably moving forward. While in the olden days we geographers had to learn that people migrate to the city in order to find a job, eventually the economists – at least those at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam – found out that people do not move to the city as much for work as they do for finding a partner.

“According to the economists of the VU the city as a marriage market has a larger impact on housing prices than employment opportunities have.” The researchers followed the life of over 23,000 Danes from 1980 until 1995. (sic!) They concluded that attractive singles move to the city more often than their unattractive counterparts. Attractive means: a good catch, based on education, income and your fathers’ job. Are you attractive, then you hold great value. “Every week that you are single then is very costly: the difference in value between having a relationship and not having a relationship is very large for those people. That difference is smaller when you are not attractive, because then your partner is less attractive as well, which decreases the difference between being single and having a relationship.” Therefore, attractive people mostly live in big cities whereas unattractive people especially inhabit rural areas. “Everybody happy, because unattractive people will not easily find a partner in the city anyway.”

Similar conclusions were drawn three years ago from the Planning Department of the City of Amsterdam in ‘Nieuwe Openingen’ nr. 6, 2007, titled “Hier werden wij verliefd” or “Here we fell in love”. Urban ecologist Remco Daalder wrote in that issue: “Amsterdam is known for it’s horniness and it has been like that for centuries, (…). It is a vicious circle: Amsterdam has that reputation and thus young people from across the country rush to the city, consequently it bursts of sex-oriented youngsters, which in turn confirms Amsterdam’s reputation. As a city we should be happy with that. These young people populate our universities, start creative businesses that keep our economy going and as they grow older they remain in the city longer and longer, (…). Sex in the City is not just a slogan, it is an important fundament for Amsterdam’s economic success.”