SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
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Looking for love in all the right places!


May 07, 2019
Tuesday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
Alaska has always been seen as a place to find one's economic destiny.

jpg  Dave Kiffer

From the gold rush to the salmon rush to the oil rush, and now the visitor bathroom rush, tens of thousands of people have streamed north to find their financial future.

But what about love?

Is Alaska the kind of place where you can find happily ever after as well as financially ever after?

A recent survey by TheSeniorList says yes.

According to TheSeniorList, a variety of factors makes Alaska the fourth most likely state for people "over 50" to find love.

Well, that's great, just great.

No, I am not saying that we should consign people over 50 to tending the woodstove by themselves. I am all for people hooking up to relieve the relentlessness of the long winter nights and long summer days. Besides two Permanent Fund Dividends is truly double your pleasure, double your fun.

Heckfire, I am married, after all. And you know that every married person always seems to want to see all the unmarried people around them get married.

They're always prattling on and on about how great it is and then spending way too much time trying to pair up the singletons they know.

Not sure why that is.

Maybe marriage self-preservation, in that if there are no single people out there we are less likely to lose our mates when we do stupid things?

Maybe we are just so danged thrilled with our married lives that we are compelled to want to share the wealth?

Maybe it's just the opposite?

Anyway, I digress.

TheSeniorList (BTW, is really okay to call all people over the age of 50 seniors? Most days I feel pretty sophomoric.) says that if you are over 50 and you head to Alaska, the likelihood of "happily ever after" is 65 percent. So why should that irritate me?

Well, every time there some media burp about finding love in Alaska, my inbox fills up with queries from lonely Outsiders who want to know if it is true.

It was that way when Northern Exposure was a "thing." It was even worse when the dreadful "Men in Trees" was on. There are even people out there SO DESPERATE that they watch the Alaska Bush People and think, wow, look at all those single (for a reason) young men.

Sure, let's just fill up our cities and towns with every lonely heart in the world because there rumor is that there are "available, single men" galore in the Last Frontier.

So I end up getting chronic thumb cramp from having to type "well, the odds are good, but the goods are odd" over and over and over again.

In other words. I have to keep reminding people that if someone is single in Alaska, there is probably a VERY GOOD REASON why they are on the remainder shelf.

Maybe, for example, they just don't want to be tied down. You don't usually end up in the far reaches of North America because you are happy to sit around playing canasta.

Maybe they have issues with other people. If you have issues with other people, Alaska is great place to come to because most other states have at least one city with more residents that the entire state of Alaska. When you combine that with the sheer magnitude of the square acreage here, well, there is a lot of space between all those random people that are here.

Growing up it was common knowledge that the population density in Alaska  was one person per square mile. Now it's a little more than that, but it remains way less than two people per square miles. By comparison, the population density in the US as a whole is something like 35 people per square mile. Yes, that means the US is not as bad as Hong Kong (6,997 per square mile) but certainly compared to the rest of the country, Alaska is the Gobi Desert of population density.

Which is not to say that the majority of Alaskan residents aren't "dense," they just aren't dense numerically, but that's just a discussion for another day. There is a reason why "the goods are odd."

Perhaps the biggest surprise in these TheSeniorList results is that there are apparently three American states where your chances of finding Love after 50 are better than Alaska.

BTW, the factors that go into these calculations primarily revolve around (a) the number of single people over the age of 50 and (b) the average income for said single people over the age of 50. The higher income level being a sign of "stability" which is always a good sign in a mate.

It's funny whenever you see these surveys where young people list the qualities they are looking for in a mate, you never see "must be stable."

By the time you hit 50, though, that is just about the only thing that still matters!

According to TheSeniorList, if you go to Maryland you have a 68 percent chance of finding "Love after 50." Next up is Hawaii at 67 percent and Connecticut at 66 percent. Then comes Alaska.

Best of all, we beat Virginia even though that state is "For Lovers" according to its long-running slogan. Virginia struggles in at 5th in the TheSeniorList countdown.

But what about the bottom of the list?

Where should you absolutely not go if you are looking for Love After 50?

Well as seems frequent in these sorts of lists (the South only seems to lead when measuring obesity and lung cancer rates), in Mississippi your chances for Love After 50 are only about 44 percent.

West Virginia comes in at 45 percent, Arkansas at 46 percent and Kentucky at 47 percent.

Of course, there could be a silver lining. Maybe there are fewer single people for positive reasons? Maybe the deep south is such a lover's paradise  (Winn Dixie, moon pies,  bird-sized skeeters)  that there aren't any singles to be had because everybody is paired up in perpetual marital bliss.

The survey doesn't dig that deep. It does note that the single people in those states are not particularly financially stable. Unless you consider having nine relatives living in a double-wide to be stable.

But what of those Meccas of seniorhood? Those warm states where older, supposedly financially stable seniors are known to congregate? Places like Florida, California, Nevada, Arizona?

Their percentages range from 51 to 59 percent. The odds are better than the Deep South, but not particularly good compared to Alaska.

So, Alaska is the place to come to find your happy ever after.

And with news out of Hollywood that they are planning a "reboot" of Northern Exposure in a year or so, we can expect an influx of lonely-hearts trundling north once again to find that quirky, but endearing special someone who is somehow, surprising still on the market at 50, in Alaska.

Hopefully, the special single someone will be off parole by then.



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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.

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