updated 10/21/2003 5:32:39 AM ET 2003-10-21T09:32:39

Go West young woman, especially if you’re single and looking for love. And if you’re serious about seeking a male mate, go to Orange County or Silicon Valley — two areas with cities where, in an unusual twist, single men outnumber single women.

NATIONWIDE, there are millions more women than men who have never married, or have divorced or been widowed, the Census Bureau reports.

That held for most of California, where there were 6.1 million single women and 5.6 million single men, according to Census 2000. But California’s ratio of 92 single men to every 100 single women was closer to parity than the national average of 86 single men for every 100 single women.

And California had half of the nation’s top 10 places with more than 100,000 people where single men outnumbered single women, according to the census.

Topping California’s list was Sunnyvale, where the census reported 113 men for every 100 women. But in this suburb noted for male-heavy technology firms, dating can fall victim to a culture where working into the night may be favored over a night on the make.

Even eligible men who hit Sunnyvale bars face problems.

“I’ve almost given up in Sunnyvale, and I can’t get anyone to even come down and visit me here anymore,” said Jim Oddson, 28, a telephone line repairman who one night took out-of-town friends to three local bars but found not a single woman — single or otherwise.

The other four California cities were immigrant magnets — Santa Ana, Salinas, Oxnard and Costa Mesa — which naturally attract male laborers, many of them single, foreign-born Hispanics.

Cynthia Centeno, 22, lives in the Orange County suburb of Santa Ana and said she has no problem meeting single men. “It’s easy to meet people,” Centeno said. “Everywhere you turn, there are people out.”

Two other places among the national top-10 were around Las Vegas, including the unincorporated area of Paradise, which might seem more like purgatory for men on the prowl. With 118 single men for every 100 single women, it had the greatest gap in the United States.

© 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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