Vancouver is the No. 1 city outside the Sun Belt for retired singles looking for love, according to the OurTime.com online dating service.
The city ranked No. 9 nationwide, trailing seven Florida cities and Mesa, Ariz.
OurTime.com analyzed information from its database of users older than 50 to come up with a number of members per capita in each city, said Samantha Liang of DKC Public Relations, Marketing & Government Affairs. More than 2.5 million members have joined the dating service in the past year, according to a news release Monday.
Dr. Terri Orbuch, a relationship expert at OurTime.com, said in a statement Monday that weather seems to play a primary role in attracting retired singles to a particular place.
Vancouver has moderate temperatures year-round but falls short of Florida’s rarely-interrupted sunshine.
The city’s location in Washington offers the benefit of no income taxes combined with proximity to Portland, where retirees can enjoy no sales tax and a variety of leisure activities.
An estimated 28 percent of Vancouver residents 65 and older live alone, according to the Census Bureau. That’s slightly more than the national average of 27.6 percent.
“I have a theory that these folks move to Vancouver while they’re still married, and one of them dies,” said Woodland resident Julia Anderson, author of the blog SixtyandSingle.com. “The reason they’re moving to Vancouver is, they realize Washington has no income tax. That’s very attractive to retirees on a fixed income. The appeal of the Vancouver area is cheaper housing and no income tax.”
Clark County also has a variety of efforts aimed at addressing seniors’ needs and enhancing their quality of life. Among them is the Elder Justice Center, which prosecutes elder abuse.
Pastor Bill Ritchie of Crossroads Community Church, which has one of Vancouver’s largest congregations, recently launched a baby boomers ministry called Nxt STP (text message jargon for “Next Step”) to motivate middle-age and older adults to use their expertise to give to their community.
Anderson said she doesn’t recommend that retired singles look for love on the Internet.
“A dating service costs a lot to join,” she said. “You spend a lot of time looking at faces and going, ‘Oh, my God.’ The better way to meet people as seniors is either through friends or at activities like church.”
The top 10 cities were:
- Ocala, Fla.
- Cape Coral, Fla.
- Bradenton, Fla.
- Delray Beach, Fla.
- Mesa, Ariz.
- Naples, Fla.
- Clearwater, Fla.
- Boynton Beach, Fla.
- Salem, Ore.