PARKERSBURG - An online listing of the top 10 worst cities for singles has ranked Parkersburg as seventh in the nation.
According to an online article by Stacy Rapacon of Kiplinger.com, Parkersburg's relatively low percentage of singles, coupled with low pay, makes it less than ideal for the dating scene.
"Sure, the West Virginia city is relatively safe and quiet, making it attractive to families, but the dating scene holds little appeal," she wrote.
Rapacon wrote less than half, about 48.5 percent, of Parkersburg's metro population of 162,488 is single.
"Younger bachelors and bachelorettes may be particularly put off by the area's seasoned dating pool. The median age is 42.7, vs. the U.S. median of 37.3 years old," she wrote. "Plus, the 5.4 percent lower-than-average cost of living doesn't balance out a median household income that falls 21.5 percent below the national median."
Carrie Nesselrode, executive director of Downtown PKB, which promotes downtown Parkersburg events and development, said she was disappointed to see Parkersburg on the list.
* Kiplinger is a Washington, D.C.-based publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice, available in print, online, audio, video and software products.
* For the full list, visit http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/real-estate/T006-S001-10-worst-cities-for-singles/index.html.
"I hate to see that kind of publicity for Parkersburg," she said. "Parkersburg is a wonderful place to live and there are plenty of opportunities and events and places to live."
Even so, Nesselrode said officials are constantly looking for ways to engage and entice younger residents, such as encouraging business development, holding events and promoting entertainment, and helping developers create more housing opportunities in the downtown area.
"There is a waiting list for those who would like to live downtown, so there is an interest there," she said. "Those tend to be young professionals who want to be able to live and work downtown and who want more opportunities in the downtown area."
The Kiplinger.com list is based primarily on demographics and economic factors, and the cities selected all fell below national averages in those areas.
The site published a list of the top 10 locations for singles, and unsurprisingly the majority were major U.S. cities and centers of population and business, such as New York, Los Angeles and Santa Cruz, Calif.
Sandwiched between Florence, Ala., at Number 8 and Ocala, Fla., at Number 6 on the worst cities for singles list, Parkersburg wasn't the worst of the bunch. That was reserved for Yuma, Ariz., which had 47 percent single in its population and a cost of living 4.7 percent above the national average with relatively low income.