Back Bay and Beacon Hill are home to the most cheating residents per capita in Boston, according to a website that caters to connecting married couples looking for flings.
More than 165,000 residents of Boston and the cities and towns in a 31 mile radius are members of AshleyMadison.com, the discreet dating web site for married men and women, and the site has broken down those numbers to show which neighborhoods have the most members per capita.
Based on the website’s analysis, Back Bay and Beacon Hill top the list of members per capita. Roslindale, South Boston, and Brighton round out the top five, and Charlestown, Allston, West Roxbury, Hyde Park, and Dorchester make the top 10.
“Who you are is strongly related to where you live. Each neighborhood has a personality and the people who live there tend to identify strongly with that,” Noel Biderman, AshleyMadison.com founder and chief executive said. “The question everyone is asking is does the community impact the people within it, or are certain personality types drawn to those areas?"
Biderman said the affluent neighborhoods of Back Bay and Beacon Hill topping the list fits with trends in other cities, as well as the often-reported extramarital affairs of celebrities and politicians.
“Those lifestyles come with so many more opportunities as opposed to a traditional lifestyle,” said Biderman, pointing to time couples spend apart and financial independence of both partners.
“An affair isn’t always a cheap undertaking,” he said.
The website also looked at other member demographics in some of the other top neighborhoods. Roslindale has the highest percentage of female members with 36 percent, while Charlestown has the lowest at 26 percent.
Allston, a neighborhood popular among college students and young professionals, is home to the most single users seeking married men, according to the site.
Biderman said members often list their neighborhood in their profiles, but do not necessarily limit themselves to neighbors.
“It’s much less of a guilty affair, if you will, if someone from Boston is having an affair in New York,” he said.
Relationships facilitated by the web site at least provide less of a chance of being caught, said Biderman, compared to office romances or affairs started on other social media websites, where people might know each other in other aspects of their lives or have different expectations.
“That’s bound to end badly,” said Biderman, whose site has faced criticism for encouraging adultery. But Biderman said he only facilitates extramarital affairs in a “community where everyone knows what they're getting,” and some residents appear to have taken to it.
Boston has been one of the site’s top cities since it launched in the U.S. in 2007, said Biderman.
Earlier this year, as USA Today first reported, Boston was ranked seventh on the list of top U.S. cities that use the site based on membership as a percentage of city population.
Biderman did not have a definite reason for his site’s popularity in Boston, but speculated it might have to do with a changing culture that once allowed men to frequent the city’s adult entertainment district, known as the Combat Zone.
“Maybe as women have become just as financially secure and sufficient they too feel they can have these extracurricular activities,” Biderman said.