Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Houston Sucks

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. . . If you are a single guy (like me), that is. This map is from Richard Florida's blog (Florida being the author of the incredibly entertaining Rise of the Creative Class). So why is it that (in general) cities in the West have a surplus of single men and cities in the East a surplus of single women? Florida suggests that areas with dynamic job creation over time tend to attract singles (for whom it is easier to move) but that they attract single men first--that men are more likely to move far away for a job than women. (This certainly jibes with my personal experience.)

So what does that say about Houston? Well, Houston fits this theory quite well. In the past decade, the economy of Houston has had an energy-fueled growth-period. (Yes, I know there are other industries in Houston, but the oilengas bidness has been falling over itself to hire people for a while now.) Now the oil industry is still a "good ol' boy" industry--very masculine. To be sure, women get hired in this industry. But it's my feeling that on balance, compared to other industries in the country, oil companies attract and hire more men. So the growth of the industry combined with its masculine tendencies means that Houston is going to have a surplus of single men. Which is great if you own a strip joint, but sucks if you are a single man. (But at least it's better than Dallas.)

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