It's not your imagination, ladies.
Are you one of those women who has a very rigid checklist of the specifics for her future husband? Is college-educated on the list? How about location — must your future mister live in New York or Miami? If so, you might want to rethink those must-haves, because you're limiting your options significantly.
In his new book, Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game, author Jon Birger talks about the man deficit all over the country — not just in major cities like Providence and Los Angeles.
Among young college graduates, there are four women for every three men nationwide, except for man-heavy tech centers like Silicon Valley. When there are more college-educated women than men, what happens is what Birger calls "a musical chairs of the heart": men start pairing off with partners, and single heterosexual women are left with fewer options.
As Birger told Vice, it isn't that there's a shortage of males, but a shortage of college-educated men.
The gender imbalance in higher education is stunning as he noted that about 35 percent more women than men graduated from college last year. Also, the U.S. Department of Education forecasts that the disproportion will grow to 47 percent by 2023.
"Obviously, none of this would matter if we were all a little more open-minded about who we were willing to date and marry," Birger told Vice. "But there have been multiple studies on this, and it turns out Americans have become less likely over the past 50 years to marry and date across educational lines. So educational intermarriage ... is at its lowest rate in 50 years."
When a woman has a strong preference for someone who has the same educational background as her, it puts her at a disadvantage. But this preference has no impact on men.
Whether men with college degrees are aware or not that they're in short supply, they seem to instinctively know that they have luxury of choice and take advantage of their position.
"I think some [college-educated men] thought that they were so special that they had just become really good catches, and that's why they had so many options," said Birger. "It's harder to commit to just one lady because they believe another woman will always be a little better."
By limiting themselves to degree-holders, Birger believes that women are limiting their options and giving those college grad men too much power.
So, if you're not having any luck finding Mr. College-Educated, what should you do?
"For a college-educated woman who puts an extremely high-priority on getting married to a college-educated man, she may be better off strategically — though not necessarily romantically — getting married young to Mr. Perfectly Acceptable, rather than holding out to 40 for Mr. Right," Birger writes.
It's basically classism when one won't consider having a relationship with someone just because they aren't as educated as they are. Besides opening up to the kind of person you'll get involved with, there are certain places where the dating market is a little better for women: San Jose, San Francisco, Denver, and Seattle.
If you won't date someone just because they aren't as educated as you, you could really be missing out. Cross over those educational lines — better yet, destroy them. Just because someone doesn't have a degree doesn't mean they aren't brilliant or amazing; they just don't need a piece of paper to prove it.