Feb 14, 2024 - News

Why it's hard to find love in Salt Lake City

Illustration of a burned out match match in the shape of a heart

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Is the dating pool shallow in Salt Lake City? Just ask most singles here, and they'll likely compare it to the shrinking Great Salt Lake.

State of play: Religiosity, an emphasis on outdoor recreation, abysmal racial diversity, and the lack of venues to meet singles are a few factors that make dating in Salt Lake City so challenging, singles told Axios.

What they're saying: "The culture in Utah, especially related to religion and the outdoors, is so niche," Meg Griffes, a relationship and faith transition coach, said.

  • Those elements can make it particularly difficult for single people who have never been members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or who don't know how to ski or snowboard.

By the numbers: Of 1.1 million Utah households, 63% were coupled — the highest rate of any state, according to the 2020 U.S. Census figures. That leaves even fewer options for hopeful lovers.

Zoom in: Austin Miller, a 36-year-old business consultant living in Salt Lake City, said there aren't enough local venues or activities geared toward meeting singles. Dating apps like Tinder or Hinge are also a challenge for Miller.

  • "It's a significant amount of effort to get from the app to a first date," Miller said.

Brittany Marie Menefield, 36, a Black business owner living in West Valley City, said it's difficult to find men of color to date.

  • When joining some social groups, Menefield found most people are already acquainted with one another.
  • "That's what happens any time that you live in a big, small town," she said.

The bottom line: The most significant relationship to cultivate is the one you have with yourself, Griffes noted.

  • She said she's seeing more women choose singlehood rather than settling in a relationship.
  • "I'm really hopeful that this kind of shift in the landscape of dating invigorates people or motivates people to be better at relationships in all facets of their lives," she said.

Be smart: Griffes recommends integrating yourself into your local community to meet people who share similar values and interests.

  • That could mean volunteering, joining a sports league or a hiking group on Facebook.
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