Tacoma Is the Most Romantic City in America (According to Yelp)

Love Town, U.S.A.
Yeah, you'd think I was kidding about that, wouldn't you?

But no. I am absolutely serious. Over on the Daily Weekly, the mere mention of this bizarre "fact" got commenters in an uproar--mostly stepping to the defense of Tacoma and waxing lyrical about its manifold romantic attractions (like the smell). But all arguments aside, according to a complicated series of calculations performed by Yelp's statistics ninjas, Tacoma, Washington is the single most romantic city in the United States. It is followed by Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, Calif., New Haven, Conn., and of course that bastion of love, immortalized throughout the ages in poetry and song, El Paso, Texas.

But still, Tacoma gets #1. Which officially puts the score at Yelp: 1, A Sane and Rational Universe: 0.

So how did this happen? I'll let the folks from Yelp explain it:

"It all starts with identifying a set of romantic queries such as searches for "romantic restaurants," "chocolate-covered strawberries," and even "lingerie," which occur in a statistically significantly greater proportion the week before Valentine's Day than at other times during the year. The next obvious step to take would be to count up the number of romantic searches by city and order by that count, right? Unfortunately, that just isn't fair. Cities that are massive Yelp communities, like New York, may have a much larger absolute number of romantic searches. We take this into account by dividing by total search activity in a city to calculate the proportion of romantic queries (if you want to get super technical, the lower bound of the Wilson binomial confidence interval, but basically a proportion). That gives us a much clearer and fairer picture of just which cities have set their hearts on matters of the, well, heart!"

So did you get all that? Love, in this modern age, is all about the "Wilson binomial confidence interval." And the best place to find that mathematically perfect romance is Tacoma. Grit City, U.S.A.

Oh, but that's not all. Yelp also tried to calculate the city where you would be most likely to get engaged on Valentine's Day (based on queries, search terms, and that Wilson fella), and the winner was . . .

Pittsburgh! Which is great, except that you'd have to live in Pittsburgh.

And of course there was also a least romantic city listed. It was Hamilton, Ontario. But if you're into all this statistic-izing, you can check out the whole explanation of how Yelp uses math to make sense of complete bullshit right here. It's a lesson for this modern age, for sure.

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