Special Report

Average Cost of a Date in Each State

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.


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.

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