Stanford University Survey Finds Couples Who Meet Online Are More Diverse

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Couples who meet online are more Diverse

Researchers have long been fascinated by the ways online dating has changed how we meet and match. A Pew Research Center analysis of recently released survey data from Stanford University found that online daters are more likely to choose partners who are different from them in race or ethnicity, income level, education or political affiliation.

The Stanford survey, How Couples Meet and Stay Together 2017, collected answers from 3,510 U.S. adults who are currently married, currently in a relationship, or who have ever previously been in a relationship. Couples who met online were more likely to date someone with a different education level, political ideology or race/ethnicity than couples who met offline. The difference between those who met online and offline was particularly significant for political party and race/ethnicity.

Three in 10 respondents who met their partner online reported that their partner is a different race or ethnicity, compared to 19 percent of respondents who met their partner offline. A larger percentage of people who met their partner online also said they do not share their partner’s political beliefs (46 percent vs. 40 percent). For many couples with differing political views, one person leans to or is affiliated with a specific party while the other is an independent or undecided.

There may be a simple explanation for this phenomenon, explains Pew Research Center. Users of online dating services tend to be younger than those who meet offline, and younger people are more likely to be in relationships with partners who are different from them, regardless of how they meet. The median age of survey respondents who met their partners online was 36. For offline couples, the median age was 51.

The differences between offline daters and online daters largely disappear after controlling for age. Filter the data set to look only at Americans under the age of 40, and you’ll find that nearly the same percentage of those who met their partner online (49%) and offline (48%) say their partner identifies with a different political party. Similar percentages (31% online, 27% offline) say their partner is of a different race or ethnicity.

The Stanford University data backs up previous findings from economists Josue Ortega at the University of Essex and Philipp Hergovich at the University of Vienna. In 2017, Ortega and Hergovich published an article in which they examined the effects of online dating and diversity. They concluded that online dating may be creating stronger, happier and more diverse marriages.