Engagement Capitals

“Will you marry me?” Those four little words have brought joy and happiness to thousands, and changed peoples lives forever. From low key private proposals to giant gestures at massive public events, every engagement is a special moment. Every proposal has to happen somewhere, but where in the UK are the most people getting engaged?

Using Google search data for engagement related terms such as ‘best places to propose’, ‘proposal ideas’, and the most important item of jewellery for the occasion the ‘engagement ring’ we have discovered the UK cities where love is in the air.

The year of lockdown love

Despite crowded extravagant wedding celebrations seeming like a thing of the past during the restrictions of the past year, it looks like more people in the UK are looking to get engaged in the past year than the twelve months prior.

In fact, engagement related searches have risen by 17.85% across the country to 3,897,680 between April 2020 and March 2021, which is an increase of just over 590,000, so it appears spending time locked down together has increased the interest in tying the knot.

The UK’s engagement capitals

Although all engagements are hugely important events in people’s lives, it appears that some cities around the country have a particular proclivity for proposals. By comparing the number of engagement related searches to the population in each city we have been able to discover the cities with the highest percentage of people interested in taking that next step and where you’re most likely to get engaged in 2021!

Durham – 12.28% of population searching

Coming in at number one is the historic north eastern city of Durham, with 12.28% of a population of just under 100,000 searching for engagement related terms in the past twelve months. With its idyllic location on the River Wear, and ancient listed buildings such as Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle, it is certainly a picturesque proposal spot for prospective married couples.

Liverpool – 11.23% of population searching

‘All You Need is Love’, famous lyrics performed by Liverpool’s most famous quartet, the Beatles. In the three or so minutes of that song, the word ‘love’ is mentioned 62 times, but this number pales in comparison to the 52,380 who looked into engagements in the city last year. This equates to 11.23% of the population of the entire city, and it would appear that there are now even more people who will never be walking alone on Merseyside.

Bristol – 9.34% of population searching

From two northern cities, we travel down south for the third-placed city for engagements, Bristol. The Clifton Suspension Bridge is a majestic masterpiece that spans the Avon Gorge in Bristol, but it is much smaller and more delicate metalwork that is relevant here as 40,000 Bristolians searched for engagement rings (and related terms) in the last year, which is just under a tenth of the population.

Lincoln – 8.94% of population searching

When Jeremy Clarkson and James May visited Lincoln for a Top Gear feature they appeared to suggest that there was little in the way of things to do, but it would appear that an activity very popular in the city is getting engaged. Lincoln shares lots of similarities with Durham as they are both ancient cities with landmark cathedrals at their heart, they also have an almost identical population but the former had over 3,000 fewer engagement searches.

Derry – 8.22% of population searching

The only non-English city in the top five of the rankings is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland, Derry, which has a population of 107,877. The walled city on the banks of the River Foyle had 8,870 engagement related searches which equates to just over 8% of the total population. Perhaps a factor in this is that during the last census 97.18% of the population identified to follow some form of Christianity and marriage tends to be more prevalent between religious couples.

CityPercentage of population looking to get engaged
Durham12.28%
Liverpool11.23%
Bristol9.34%
Lincoln8.94%
Derry8.22%
Norwich8.02%
Glasgow7.98%
Newcastle7.84%
Chester7.57%
Kingston upon Hull7.51%
Peterborough7.39%
Manchester7.35%
Worcester6.98%

Which cities have had the biggest rise in lockdown love?

St Albans – 139.51% Increase

Despite being one of the smaller cities in the country, St Albans has had by far the biggest increase in engagement related searches during the past year with just under 140%. In raw numbers this is a jump from 1,620 searches to 3,880 during the past year, therefore lockdown love appears to be swelling in St Albans.

Norwich – 41.17% Increase

Moving eastwards to the biggest city in Norfolk, Norwich comes in second place in the growth rankings with searches increasing from 7,530 to 10,630. Humans have been living in Norwich since AD 43 and it has grown into a thriving city of over 130,000 people, so vast growth is no surprise to this city.

Swansea – 36.2% Increase

Thirdly comes the South Walian coastal city of Swansea where engagement related searches rose by almost a thousand to 3,010 which is an increase of 36% during the lockdown period. One of Swansea’s most famous sons, Dylan Thomas, famously wrote ‘rage, rage against the dying of the light’, and it appears the current inhabitants of the city are using romance to rage against the current crisis.

CityIncrease in engagement interest
St Albans139.51%
Norwich41.17%
Swansea36.20%
Derry31.02%
Preston29.95%
Leicester29.63%
Liverpool29.08%
Durham28.21%
Wolverhampton26.31%
Stoke on Trent25.88%
Wakefield25.05%
Gloucester23.79%
Bradford22.33%

Unlucky in love…

Some cities have a very low percentage of their population seemingly interested in getting engaged, moreover, some locations have seen a big decrease in searches during the past year. These are the cities where people are least likely to pop the question.

The cities least interested in getting engaged

Four of the top five cities with the lowest search percentage are located in Wales, with Wakefield being the only other one.

Located in West Yorkshire just south of Leeds, Wakefield comes in as the city with the third lowest percentage of population searching for engagement terms with only 1.96% of the inhabitants looking to potentially propose.

Despite their previously discussed increase, Swansea comes in second-bottom with an incredibly low 1.26%. The south Wales city is rugby union mad, but it would appear that the people of Swansea are not particularly interested in the union of marriage.

Finally, the city with the lowest percentage of the population looking at getting engaged is Newport. It was only granted city status in 2002 making it one of the newest cities in Britain, the small Welsh city had an incredibly low 700 searches which is 0.48% of their population of 145,736.

Methodology

Using Google keyword planner we found out the search volume data for engagement related key terms for April 2020 – March 2021, and April 2019 – March 2020. We then calculated the difference between the two figures to determine which cities have had the biggest increase or decrease during the past 12 months.

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