For one, it’s not as if we are holding out for Jake Gyllenhaal, but we do have certain non-negotiable expectations for potential mates that include college degrees and white-collar jobs. Life has always gone according to our plans, so why wouldn’t we land a man with these (reasonable) requirements?
The author mentions she would like to meet a heterosexual male with a college education, a white-collar job and we will assume by her mention of “millennial” that her dating range is about 25-34 year old men for the sake of simplicity, but the adjustment to different age ranges is simple by using population distribution tables.
Using Table 2 from the same release we can also see that there is 29,971,000 men 25 and older with at least a Bachelor’s degree. Using Table 3 again, we can estimate that about 20.6% are aged 25-34, giving us a nation-wide total of 6,174,000 non-institutionalized men aged 25-34 with an education consisting of a Bachelors degree or higher of which approximately 5,939,500 (96.2) are either employed or not a part of the labor force, presumably because they do not need to work (Table A-4. Employment status of the civilian population 25 years and over by educational attainment), 98% of which, or 5,820,600, hold what can be considered “white collar” occupations.
According to a 2003 study, American Sexual Behavior: Trends, Socio-Demographic Differences, and Risk Behavior, it is estimated that men who identify as homosexual or bisexual make up only about 5% of the male population, meaning that assuming no correlation between sexual orientation and age-group or education level, there should be approximately 5,529,570 males meeting the criteria of the author. According to the 2000 Census Marital Status Brief 53% of the male population aged 25-34 is either unmarried or living separately from their spouse. We’ll assume 5% of those observations match-up with the previously cited 5% figure for homosexual and bisexual men (as-of 2000 there was no same-sex marriage), ignoring the incidence of marriages of convenience due to lack of data. That brings the eligible candidate population to approximately 2,654,193 men, or roughly 19% of the college educated male population aged 25-34 or 6.38% of the male population aged 25-34 or 2.73% of the male population. Eliminating married but separated men would reduce the overall count of eligible partners by 5% and eliminating divorcees as well would reduce it by an additional 3%. There is no widely-available estimate of what percentage of the population is otherwise unavailable due to non-marital attachment such as dating.
For example, assuming uniform geographical distribution and the earlier cited 2.654m eligible mate population, a given area would yield approximately 8,428 potential mates per million in total population, meaning that a city the size of New York would feature ~69,500 potential mates; Los Angeles 32,026; San Diego 11,175; Boston 5,267; Atlanta 2,085; and Knoxville 1,525.
This, of course, before eliminating the unmarried but unavailable (dating) population or filtering for subjective criteria such as personal preferences, eliminating people you already know or have dated, common goals, mutual attraction, personal values, common interests, geographical proximity, racial preferences (the universe of eligible men would be substantially smaller if the author expressed a racial preference, especially so if that were Black or hispanic).
Specifically, “must-haves” or “deal-breakers” would dramatically reduce the population of available mates. Desiring two independent “must-haves” that are present in 50% of the population each and having two “deal-breakers” that are present in 5% of the population each would reduce the available pool by 67.5% (1-((1-.05)^2 * 0.50^2)). The more of these requirements one has, the smaller the pool of potential mates.
So, next time you feel like you’ve met or dated everybody that meets your criteria in your extended social circle, remember that—depending on your selectivity—you probably have.