5th best: Austin, Texas
Metro population: 1.4 million
Percentage of unmarried adults: 49.3 percent
Cost of living: 7.3 percent below U.S. average
Median annual household income: $59,646
Date-night tab: $37.03
The blend of Austin’s economic powerhouse status and its funky, cool vibe makes it a prime spot to find successful yet laid-back singles to chill with. Throughout the Great Recession, the metro area held strong, with relatively low unemployment, and even managed to add jobs, earning it the top spot on our “Best Cities for the Next Decade” list in 2010. Since then, the local job market has continued to improve, and the unemployment rate was just 4.5 percent as of December 2013, compared with 6.5 percent for the U.S. as a whole.
On top of being gainfully employed, residents of the Texas capital typically enjoy healthy wages plus low living costs — a financially winning combination. So your budget will have ample room for all the quite affordable social events the city has to offer.
Of course, you’ll have the South By Southwest festival in your backyard every March, but you can also enjoy live music, often for free, at more than 250 venues around town throughout the year. Foodies can find an abundance of eclectic dining options, far beyond the unsurprisingly tasty barbecue and Tex Mex, including Top Chef: Texas winner Paul Qui’s eponymous fusion restaurant.