Did you know the month of January has the highest rate of breakups? Rather than letting breakup season get you down, you can view this time of year as an opportunity to make new connections—the dating pool is larger, so it’s actually not a bad time to be single. Studies show that online dating is one of the most successful ways to increase your odds of finding that special someone. In order to put your best face forward, it’s helpful to know what the majority of people are really searching for.

For his book Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking), Christian Rudder, one of the founders of OkCupid, collected data from millions of OkCupid members, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and many other sites to reveal our secret online habits and how they relate to modern culture. The results may surprise you. Did you know Facebook “likes” can predict a person’s sexual orientation? Or that attractive women receive a significantly higher number of interview invites?

The problem with most social science research is that it only measures what people are willing to report about themselves and their behavior. As his title suggests, Rudder’s main goal was to figure out “who we are (when we think no one’s looking)” and uncover the true essence of how we love, how we communicate, and how mankind is evolving. By analyzing the digital world, he believes we can reach a deeper understanding of the real world.

“Online you have friends, lovers, enemies, and intense moments of truth without a thought for who’s watching, because ostensibly no one is—except of course the computers recording it all,” says Rudder. “This is how digital data circumvents that old research obstacle: people’s inability to be honest when the truth makes them look bad. Digital data’s ability to get at the private mind like this is unprecedented and very powerful.”

If you’re starting the New Year single, you may find these statistics fascinating and good to know:

  1. Regardless of age, most men are attracted to women between the ages of 20 and 22.
  2. Women who are 20 and 21 years old prefer 23-year-old men. Women who are between 23 and 24 years old like 25-year-old men.
  3. When women reach 31, that is when they want a partner their own age—and from then on, they prefer a partner who is younger. Women aren’t seeking a man older than 40 until they’re at least 49.
  4. People who live in the Northwest and North-Central regions are more interested in sex than people anywhere else in the country.
  5. People who live in the Midwest and Southeast are the most interested in love.

So what can we take away from all this?

  1. To a certain extent, age matters. The most sad-but-true statistic: Men like women in their early twenties and that doesn’t change as they get older. A woman’s taste in partners, on the other hand, changes with time.
  2. If you’re looking for love, go to Ohio or New Hampshire.
  3. If you’re looking for no-strings-attached fun, go to Montana, North Dakota, or Minnesota.

However, it’s important to understand that dating is not an exact science and cannot be broken down into numbers. While this information is useful to a certain extent, attraction and love are not quantifiable and cannot be measured. Many dating experts, including Laurie Davis, agree.

“Dating data is so interesting but remember that OkCupid is just one site,” says Davis, author of Love at First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating and founder of eFlirt. “Different crowds of people tend toward different dating platforms—and I work with clients on all of them—so findings from OkCupid aren’t always a representation of dating trends in general.”

Click here to see Rose’s tips for healthy and happy relationships

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