Singles, sometimes called "the country's largest minority group," number almost 30 million women and 21 1/2 million men. Among other statistics, according to 1980 Census estimates:
* There is a surplus of unmarried men in the 25-29 age group; 88 women for every 100 men.
* In all other age groups there is a surplus of women: age 30-34, 102 women for every 100 men; age 35-39, 128 women for 100 men; age 40-44, 135 women to 100 men; age 45-54, 147 women to 100 men; age 55-64, 208 women for 100 men.
As grim as those ratios may seem, there is hope around the corner for women. By 1985, there will be nearly a million more men between the ages of 20 and 26 than women between 18 and 24. This means that a woman born in the mid-1960s, who seeks a man two or three years older, will find such men in relative abundance.
More than half a million of those men, however, will be unable to find slightly younger mates and will have to, say the prognosticators, look for much younger wives, or marry women considerably older.
Meanwhile, although being single in America today no longer carries the social stigma it once did, confusion abounds in the mating game. Women in their late twenties, thirties and forties are expressing particular concern over the lack of satisfying relationships.
Two journalists, using very different approaches, explore and clarify how some of these issues affect the contemporary American woman's "love life."