I was at the bar with some of my male Brazilian friends last night when the subject arose briefly of which Brazilian city holds the title of the place with the most single women. Fast forward one day and I may have the answer. As with most studies, interest levitates towards the most recent research and it seems much of the information found below comes from the census of the year 2000 done by FVG (Getulio Vargas Foundation).
Breaking it all down
“According to the cities researched, the ranking of singles can be organized geographically in the following way: in first place, Salvador (with 45% of the population over 18 years old, 53% of which are women compared to 47% men), next up is Brasilia (41% over 18, of which 51% are men and 49% are women), Belo Horizonte (40% over 18, with 52% men and 48% women), Fortaleza (38% over 18, with 51% women and 49% men), Recife (36%), Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo (both at 33%), and closing out the list, tied with 30%, the Southern region of the country, with Curitiba and Porto Alegre.
From what I gather, in laymens terms, that means of all women in Salvador (for example), 53% of them are single. I am not sure why the latter cities did not include percentages of men versus women, as the other cities did. Additionally, I am not certain as to why Recife gets a low percentage here and yet a high number later on (see where it says ’12 women to every man’).
As far as gender, the Brazilian reality is pretty democratic: 48% of the women are single, while the male counterpart is around 52%. In terms of age, singleness is higher among the younger segments of the population: 44% between ages 18 and 24 years old, 30% between ages 25 and 34 years old, 14% between ages 35 and 44 years old, 7% between ages 45 and 54 years old and 5% over the age of 54 years old. The division based on economic class shows a predominance within the middle segments of society. Singles encompass 10% of the upper-class, 33% of the middle class, 44% of the lower class and 13% of…the D class.
The classes were divided into A, B, C and D without explaining any details of where the cut-off lies. I can only assume class D refers to the destitute and/or homeless, although how they could be counted doesn’t quite ‘add up’ in my mind. (See comments for more on the breakdown)
The study also researched the leisure habits of single consumers. The preferred habits of these men and women are as follows: listen to music (89%), watch films on DVD (70%), spend time in shopping centers (54%), take a walk (50%), go to the beach (48%), cook for friends (45%), go to shows (40%), have a barbeque (34%), dine out (33%), frequent nightclubs (31%), go on a bicycle ride (29%), travel on the weekend and frequent (sports)clubs (20%), watch soccer matches in a stadium (17%), go to the gym (14%), go to expositions in museums (11%), fish or go to concerts (9%), practice radical sports (5%) and surf (5%).” – Source (in PT)
Here it is, the breakdown of where they go and yes thats right, where to find them. The difference between “going to shows” and “going to concerts” was not expressed in the study.
Looking for a girlfriend?
“Searching for a girlfriend? According to the study, your chances are higher in Recife (PE), where there are 12 women for each man. And that female friend of yours thats always complaining of a lack of suitors? Suggest that she takes a look in Novo Progresso (PA) or in Álvaro de Carvalho (SP) – which are at the top of the ranking for the highest proportion of men versus women and also the highest level of single men in Brazil.” – Source (in PT)
Solitary in Bahia
The study by FGV listed the Brazilian municipalities with the highest concentration of single women. Of the top 10 ranking cities, eight are located in Bahia. In the capital, Salvador, 51% of the adult female population is unaccompanied. The academics suggest two motives for explaining the phenomenon. The first is that, while in Brazil the option to be solitary is a phenomenon which is concentrated within the higher classes. In Bahia, cultural aspects among the upper-class make possible the lack of necesity for a traditional ‘bread-winner’. Due to matriarquial tradition within the state, especially influenced by candomblé, women frequently compose domiciles run by the women themselves. “It’s common to find various generations of women within one family living under the same roof”, stated the sociologist Maria Gabriela Ita, from the Universidade Federal da Bahia. “The local culture serves as a means to foster survival without the need for a partner to sustain the household and thus guarantees them the option to remain single”, she says. Migration is another factor that contributed to the high level of single females in Bahia. Among the eight municipalities in the state with the highest numbers of single women, seven are in the interior. They are poor cities, which present an elevated index of populational evasion, notably of the male kind. Traditionally, the men leave their native cities in search of better work opportunities. In the ranking of the ten Brazilian cities with the least concentration of single women, seven are situated in the state of Mato Grosso. There, the opposite phenomenom has occured: the cities of Mato Grosso, through sustaining a prosperous argricultural industry where the principal economic activity is soy, they become poles of attraction for migrants. More work, more men. And, of course, less single women.” – Source
Perhaps the research here was done at either an earlier or later time than the other previous sections of this article (as Salvador gets a 51% here while towards the beginning of the article, it gets a 53%).