couple holding hands in a field to illustrate rural dating in the us

Global Love Report – June 16, 2021
Written by: Pamela Stephanie

Rural dating in the US is not something that most matchmakers would consider, especially when most matchmaking agencies are located in urban areas. However, in states like Iowa, some 22.7% of men and 30.5% of women have never been married.

There is also the issue of migration. Some young people move out of their hometowns for college and never move back. For those who do move back and for the ones who never left, the dating pool has shrunk dramatically.

Not as Bad as China

Fortunately, the problem with rural dating in the US is nowhere near the case in China. There are no bachelor villages in rural America like there are in rural China. And the problem is not so dire as to need government intervention.

China needed a thinktank to come up with a way to solve the problem of unmarried men in rural areas: matchmake unmarried women in urban areas with these men. However, this idea was met with scorn by many of these women, with some citing that the differences between the lives of urban women versus rural men.

Differences between Rural versus Urban

While the income disparity of rural versus urban living may not be that big in the US, particularly when looking at someone in the urban area with a mid-level income compared to farmers or ranchers. In fact, the average base pay for someone in mid-level in US cities is $67,364 per year, according to Glassdoor. Whereas a May 2016 salary data for farmers and ranchers showed an average salary of $75,790 per year.

Aside from the differences in income, there is also the fact that living in an urban area is different than living in a rural area. The question will be, would a match living in the city be willing to relocate to the countryside for a client and vice versa?

Some Women Prefer Rural Dating

Thankfully, it seems that there are those who actually prefer dating in rural areas. Take Thrillist’s Sex & Dating Editor, Nicole Caldwell, for example.

Some women find it scary to go on a first date with a complete stranger, even with a full background check. That’s not the case in rural areas, though. In small towns, people tend to know one another. Even if they don’t know the person directly, they may know them through someone they know.

To Caldwell, being able to know her potential date is a big plus. This way, she has less things to worry about.

Advice for Matchmakers with Rural Clients

For matchmakers who do have clients in rural areas, here are a couple of tips from dating coach Laurie Davis Edwards: tell the client to be patient. Tell them to call their match over the phone or Zoom a few times first. This is because oftentimes the potential match is usually a long drive away from them.

Let the client be certain of the connection first before they commit to driving hours away for their date.

Another tip that Davis Edwards has is valid for matchmakers who may have crop farmers as clients: reach out to a match before work is slow, which is usually after the growing season. That way, she says, they will have had time to build a connection before they finally have enough free time for dating.

(Image Source: Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez)