Looking for love: How much does the average date cost in your state?

Evan Comen, 24/7 Wall Street
Published 7:02 a.m. ET Aug. 10, 2018

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Dating is big business in the United States. According to a survey conducted by online dating service Match.com, the average unmarried American spent $1,596 on dating in 2016. Some 68% of surveyed men want to find love this year, and the proliferation of online dating applications has made it easier to meet more people, go on more dates, and ultimately spend more money.

In addition to Americans going on more dates, the average date may be getting more expensive. According to the National Association of Theatre Owners, the average price of a movie ticket has risen from $5.06 in 1999 to $8.97 in 2017, and the average cost of a liter of wine has risen from $5.09 to $12.38.

The average cost of a date today — consisting of two dinners, a bottle of wine, and two movie tickets — adds up to $102.32. Many of the cost components of the average date vary by state, as well as factors such as taxes, travel costs, and overall costs of living, making dating far more expensive in some parts of the country than others.

To determine the cost of a date in each state, 24/7 Wall Street constructed an index based on measures related to dating expenses in all 50 states. The index was applied to the national average cost of the typical date, consisting of a liter of wine, two movie tickets, and two restaurant dinners.

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Alabama

  • Average cost of a date: $87.93 (18th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 26 per 100,000 (2nd fewest)
  • Restaurants: 159 per 100,000 (17th fewest)
  • Date idea: Explore the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, paying $25 general admission for one adult.

 (Photo: Thinkstock)

Alaska

  • Average cost of a date: $95.60 (22nd lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 78 per 100,000 (2nd most)
  • Restaurants: 155 per 100,000 (11th fewest)
  • Date idea: Go for a 3.3-mile hike at Flattop Mountain Trail in Anchorage — a great idea if you’re trying to save money.

Arizona

  • Average cost of a date: $106.36 (25th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 26 per 100,000 (3rd fewest)
  • Restaurants: 123 per 100,000 (the fewest)
  • Date idea: Go horseback riding at one of several ranches in Tucson.

Arkansas

  • Average cost of a date: $59.01 (8th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 32 per 100,000 (7th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 159 per 100,000 (19th fewest)
  • Date idea: Learn to belay for under $10 and climb for around $25 at a rock climbing center in Little Rock.

California

  • Average cost of a date: $226.35 (5th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 56 per 100,000 (14th most)
  • Restaurants: 173 per 100,000 (18th most)
  • Date idea: Head over to the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles to enjoy a concert. The venue often holds concert rehearsals that are free and open to the public throughout the summer.

Colorado

  • Average cost of a date: $109.12 (24th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 57 per 100,000 (12th most)
  • Restaurants: 185 per 100,000 (12th most)
  • Date idea: Hang at one of Colorado’s many hot springs resorts. A day soak in a hot spring costs around $20 a person.

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Connecticut

  • Average cost of a date: $230.34 (4th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 51 per 100,000 (18th most)
  • Restaurants: 199 per 100,000 (9th most)
  • Date idea: Visit one of the 24 vineyards along the Connecticut Wine Trail for a glass of wine paired with cheese.

Delaware

  • Average cost of a date: $134.27 (16th highest
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 44 per 100,000 (24th most)
  • Restaurants: 183 per 100,000 (13th most)
  • Date idea: Eat at one, two, or all of the restaurants along the Delaware Culinary Trail.

Florida

  • Average cost of a date: $128.82 (17th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 50 per 100,000 (19th most)
  • Restaurants: 173 per 100,000 (17th most)
  • Date idea: Skip the expensive park admission and instead go for a stroll along Disney’s Boardwalk in Orlando.

Georgia

  • Average cost of a date: $121.12 (18th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 33 per 100,000 (9th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 160 per 100,000 (22nd fewest)
  • Date idea: Visit one of the world’s largest aquariums in Atlanta. Tickets to Georgia Aquarium cost around $30.

 (Photo: maximkabb / Getty Images)

Hawaii

  • Average cost of a date: $239.95 (3rd highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 45 per 100,000 (23rd most)
  • Restaurants: 222 per 100,000 (2nd most)
  • Date idea: Get away to Waimea Canyon State Park, located in the scenic Island of Kaua’i — it’s free!

Idaho

  • Average cost of a date: $90.94 (20th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 60 per 100,000 (9th most)
  • Restaurants: 168 per 100,000 (21st most)
  • Date idea: With the second most drive-in theaters per capita in the nation, Idaho is the perfect place to catch a flick outdoors — for just around $7 a head.

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Illinois

  • Average cost of a date: $157.96 (12th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 40 per 100,000 (19th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 160 per 100,000 (20th fewest)
  • Date idea: Partake in a game of Whirlyball — a cross between basketball, lacrosse, and bumper cars — in either Chicago, Lombard, or Vernon Hills.

Indiana

  • Average cost of a date: $96.54 (23rd lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 33 per 100,000 (8th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 154 per 100,000 (10th fewest)
  • Date idea: Pretend you’re in Venice by enjoying a romantic gondola ride in the state capital for $25 … and a 20% tip.

 (Photo: KudicM / Getty Images)

Iowa

  • Average cost of a date: $50.90 (4th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 47 per 100,000 (21st most)
  • Restaurants: 156 per 100,000 (13th fewest)
  • Date idea: Go ice or roller skating in Central Iowa, a perfect opportunity to squeeze your date’s hand.

Kansas

  • Average cost of a date: $54.76 (6th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 31 per 100,000 (6th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 159 per 100,000 (18th fewest)
  • Date idea: Make your way through Kansas City and over the Kansas River — on a zipline of course. Expect to pay anywhere from $59 to $99 per person depending on the tour.

Kentucky

  • Average cost of a date: $81.76 (14th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 34 per 100,000 (11th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 157 per 100,000 (15th fewest)
  • Date idea: Fan of anything bourbon? Sign up for a tour of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and visit some distilleries.

Louisiana

  • Average cost of a date: $86.15 (16th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 37 per 100,000 (14th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 166 per 100,000 (25th most)
  • Date idea: Get a taste of history by dining at the more than 200-year-old Napoleon House.

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Maine

  • Average cost of a date: $157.02 (13th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 68 per 100,000 (6th most)
  • Restaurants: 220 per 100,000 (3rd most)
  • Date idea: Rent a kayak or canoe and take it on one of Maine’s many lakes.

Maryland

  • Average cost of a date: $209.33 (7th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 41 per 100,000 (22nd fewest)
  • Restaurants: 166 per 100,000 (24th most)
  • Date idea: Go for a stroll on the Ocean City Boardwalk.

 (Photo: RichBard / iStock)

Massachusetts

  • Average cost of a date: $217.51 (6th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 54 per 100,000 (17th most)
  • Restaurants: 202 per 100,000 (7th most)
  • Date idea: Travel to Martha’s Vineyard and visit one or all five of the lighthouses on the island.

Michigan

  • Average cost of a date: $112.90 (21st highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 36 per 100,000 (13th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 135 per 100,000 (2nd fewest)
  • Date idea: Rent a tandem bike for around $80 and cycle around Mackinac Island for the day.

Minnesota

  • Average cost of a date: $109.81 (23rd highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 55 per 100,000 (15th most)
  • Restaurants: 153 per 100,000 (8th fewest)
  • Date idea: Go paddleboarding with your sweetheart in one of Minnesota’s many lakes.

Mississippi

  • Average cost of a date: $68.29 (10th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 25 per 100,000 (the fewest)
  • Restaurants: 149 per 100,000 (4th fewest)
  • Date idea: Put on your dancing shoes and shimmy your way through the night at Salsa Mississippi — there are free beginner lessons and late-night dance parties.

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Missouri

  • Average cost of a date: $71.08 (11th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 37 per 100,000 (15th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 161 per 100,000 (23rd fewest)
  • Date idea: Float in the sky in a hot air balloon at various locations throughout Missouri for anywhere from $200 to $800.

Montana

  • Average cost of a date: $55.57 (7th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 135 per 100,000 (the most)
  • Restaurants: 202 per 100,000 (8th most)
  • Date idea: Spa day anyone? Treat yourself and your beloved to a day of relaxation at one of the many hot spring resorts, with spa packages ranging from around $130 to $360.

Nebraska

  • Average cost of a date: $48.91 (3rd lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 47 per 100,000 (22nd most)
  • Restaurants: 171 per 100,000 (19th most)
  • Date idea: Kiss in two states at once! Stroll across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and stop halfway across — you’ll be in both Nebraska and Iowa.

28. Nevada     • Average cost of a date: $119.19 (20th highest)     • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 59 per 100,000 (11th most)     • Restaurants: 176 per 100,000 (15th most)     • Date idea: Ditch the slots and visit the Pinball Hall of Fame. Admission is free.     ALSO READ: 50 Best Cities for Singles (Photo: Thinkstock)

Nevada

  • Average cost of a date: $119.19 (20th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 59 per 100,000 (11th most)
  • Restaurants: 176 per 100,000 (15th most)
  • Date idea: Ditch the slots and visit the Pinball Hall of Fame. Admission is free.

New Hampshire

  • Average cost of a date: $184.60 (10th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 62 per 100,000 (8th most)
  • Restaurants: 211 per 100,000 (6th most
  • Date idea: Lace up your hiking boots and ascend the second most climbed mountain in the world, Mount Monadnock.

New Jersey

  • Average cost of a date: $259.60 (2nd highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 42 per 100,000 (23rd fewest)
  • Restaurants: 177 per 100,000 (14th most)
  • Date idea: Enjoy a two to three hour dinner cruise on the Hudson River, starting from around $120 per ticket.

New Mexico

  • Average cost of a date: $86.51 (17th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 37 per 100,000 (16th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 149 per 100,000 (5th fewest)
  • Date idea: Ride the Sandia Peak Tramway above the mountainous terrain of Albuquerque for $25 a person.

New York

  • Average cost of a date: $297.27 (the highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 63 per 100,000 (7th most)
  • Restaurants: 219 per 100,000 (4th most)
  • Date idea: Rent bikes for around $12 a day and ride around Central Park — a nice escape from the concrete jungle.

North Carolina

  • Average cost of a date: $88.53 (19th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 40 per 100,000 (20th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 167 per 100,000 (23rd most)
  • Date idea: Pack your swimsuit and hit the waves at Wrightsville Beach for an inexpensive day of fun.

North Dakota

  • Average cost of a date: $42.43 (2nd lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 60 per 100,000 (10th most)
  • Restaurants: 155 per 100,000 (12th fewest)
  • Date idea: Visit the Red River Zoo in Fargo to see a variety of exotic animals, some of which are endangered, for $9.75 per person.

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Ohio

  • Average cost of a date: $80.41 (13th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 34 per 100,000 (10th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 164 per 100,000 (24th fewest)
  • Date idea: Visit the roller coaster capital of the world, Cedar Point, for a day full of rides and games, with daily admission tickets starting at $49.

Oklahoma

  • Average cost of a date: $63.65 (9th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 28 per 100,000 (5th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 158 per 100,000 (16th fewest)
  • Date idea: Check out the iconic Exchange on Film Row in Oklahoma City, every third Friday from May to October for music, food trucks, and films.

 (Photo: Qwntm / iStock)

Oregon

  • Average cost of a date: $119.79 (19th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 50 per 100,000 (20th most)
  • Restaurants: 213 per 100,000 (5th most)
  • Date idea: Visit one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan, the Portland Japanese Garden, with tickets starting at $16.95.

Pennsylvania

  • Average cost of a date: $193.94 (9th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 39 per 100,000 (18th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 166 per 100,000 (25th fewest)
  • Date idea: Take the weekend to escape to one of the many cute bed and breakfasts in Pennsylvania. Prices range from around $150 to $300 a night.

Rhode Island

  • Average cost of a date: $164.57 (11th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 57 per 100,000 (13th most)
  • Restaurants: 225 per 100,000 (the most)
  • Date idea: Enjoy a couple of drinks at the oldest bar in America, the White Horse Tavern in Newport, founded in 1673.

South Carolina

  • Average cost of a date: $84.92 (15th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 37 per 100,000 (17th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 168 per 100,000 (22nd most)
  • Date idea: Go sailing in Charleston aboard one of several dolphin watching tours for $40 to $50 per person.

South Dakota

  • Average cost of a date: $38.27 (the lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 76 per 100,000 (3rd most)
  • Restaurants: 160 per 100,000 (21st fewest)
  • Date idea: Enjoy the natural beauty of Badlands National Park in southwestern South Dakota at no cost during one of the park’s four entrance fee free days this year.

Tennessee

  • Average cost of a date: $92.38 (21st lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 43 per 100,000 (25th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 157 per 100,000 (14th fewest)
  • Date idea: Cheaper than bed and breakfast — go camping in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains.

Texas

  • Average cost of a date: $110.99 (22nd highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 27 per 100,000 (4th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 150 per 100,000 (6th fewest)
  • Date idea: Hit one of the Lone Star State’s numerous rodeo events, with tickets ranging from around $50 to $150.

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Utah

  • Average cost of a date: $98.28 (25th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 42 per 100,000 (24th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 148 per 100,000 (3rd fewest)
  • Date idea: Check out Antelope Island State Park for a wide variety of activities like mountain biking and boating. Carpool together and pay $10 for one entrance pass.

Vermont

  • Average cost of a date: $153.52 (14th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 70 per 100,000 (5th most)
  • Restaurants: 186 per 100,000 (11th most)
  • Date idea: Satisfy your sweet tooth with Vermont’s classic creemee, a local take on soft serve ice cream.

Virginia

  • Average cost of a date: $140.85 (15th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 36 per 100,000 (12th fewest)
  • Restaurants: 170 per 100,000 (20th most)
  • Date idea: Channel your adventurous side and hop in an all-terrain vehicle. You can choose among over 150 miles of ATV-specified trails in Virginia.

 (Photo: NatChittamai / iStock)

Washington

  • Average cost of a date: $195.00 (8th highest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 40 per 100,000 (21st fewest)
  • Restaurants: 187 per 100,000 (10th most)
  • Date idea: Go for a dip in one of the many breathtaking waterfalls in Washington. One of the tallest and most popular is Bridal Veil Falls, a 1,328-foot waterfall in the the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

West Virginia

  • Average cost of a date: $96.84 (24th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 55 per 100,000 (16th most)
  • Restaurants: 152 per 100,000 (7th fewest)
  • Date idea: Venture out to the Allegheny Mountains and hike around Blackwater Falls State Park.

Wisconsin

  • Average cost of a date: $73.21 (12th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 44 per 100,000 (25th most)
  • Restaurants: 153 per 100,000 (9th fewest)
  • Date idea: Load up on gas and take your loved one on a 250-mile road trip along the picturesque Wisconsin Great River Road.

Wyoming

  • Average cost of a date: $52.10 (5th lowest)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments: 71 per 100,000 (4th most)
  • Restaurants: 174 per 100,000 (16th most)
  • Date idea: Take a trip to Fossil Butte National Monument and admire over 300 ancient fossils on display — and even make your own fossil imprint to take home. The site charges no admission fee.

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Detailed findings

Dating applications allow users to meet people outside of their immediate vicinity, which may expand the distance between two individuals going on a date and make travel a considerable expense. The average commute takes more than twice as long in New York state than it does in South Dakota — 33.4 minutes versus 16.6 minutes — and the average price of a gallon of gas ranges from $3.78 in Hawaii to $2.57 in Alabama. Taking into account the average travel speed and gas mileage in the U.S., the average trip to a date can be more than twice as expensive in some states than others.

Taxes levied on spirits, wine, and beer vary heavily by state. For spirits, excise taxes range from $32.52 per gallon in Washington state to zero in New Hampshire and Wyoming. Taxes on wine range from $3.47 per gallon in Kentucky to nothing in Utah, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Wyoming; and taxes levied on beer range from $1.29 per gallon in Tennessee to $0.02 per gallon in Wyoming. Overall combined state and average local sales tax rates range from 10.0% in Louisiana to zero in New Hampshire, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon.

Methodology

To determine the cost of a date in each state, 24/7 Wall St. constructed an index based on measures related to the cost of dates in all 50 states. The index was applied to the national average cost of a basket of goods and services related to the typical date. The basket consists of the average U.S. price of a liter of wine in June 2018 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average U.S. price of two movie tickets in 2017 from the National Association of Theatre Owners, and the national average cost of two restaurant dinners in 2016 from a Zagat survey.

Each state was given an index value based on nine measures related to the cost of goods, services, dining out, transportation, and alcohol. The regional price parities for goods and services other than rents came from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and are for 2016 and received a full weighting. Consumer price indices for the cost of food away from home and for recreation by region — Northeast, South, West, and Midwest — are unadjusted figures for June 2018 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and were given a half-weight. Data on the mean travel time to work is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey. Commute time and the average price of a regular gallon of gasoline from AAA as of August 1, 2018 were combined into a product and given double weight. Data on the combined state sales tax rate and average local sales tax rate for each state in 2018 came from the Tax Foundation and were given a one-tenth weighting. Data on state spirit tax, wine tax, and beer tax in dollars per gallon for 2018 also came from the Tax Foundation and were each given a one-tenth weight. All data are for the most recent period available.

24/7 Wall Street is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news and commentary. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

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