eHarmony Responds to Marriage Numbers Article

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I am glad to see eHarmony responding in their official blog to an article titled "Marriage-Maker Claims Are Tied in Knots " from the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ article examines some of the marriage statistics released by dating sites like eHarmony as well as the methodology used to calculate such statistics. We talked a bit about this topic as well, a couple of weeks ago when the original WSJ article was published (see Story).

The WSJ article didn't look to kindly on the stats released by dating sites, and for the most part I agree with the author. The public does need to know how these statistics are generated. Of all the dating sites mentioned in the WSJ article, "eHarmony stands out as among the more careful ones". This is not exactly a glowing report for eHarmony so, they decided to post a response on their blog.

In the eHarmony blog post they go into further details on how they calculated that their dating site was responsible for 2% of marriages in the United States, from the 12-month period ending March 2007. Most of the information we already knew about from a previously released PDF file titled "eHarmony | Harris Interactive 2007 Marriage Metrics Number of eHarmony Marriages" (see Story), but the post does flush out a few more details. What this blog post does show is, eHarmony is trying to be as open and transparent with their research findings as possible. I think the name "Open Communication" may indeed be a good choice for the official eHarmony blog.

Here is the full eHarmony response to the Wall Street Journal about how they calculate their marriage statistics. For further information about this dating site, read our review of eHarmony.

Behind the Marriage Making Statistics of Dating Sites

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The Wall Street Journal in an article called "Marriage-Maker Claims Are Tied in Knots" attempts to find out if some of the statistics are true, in regards to the number of marriages a dating site claims to have generated. eHarmony is targeted because of their claim that 236 members get married everyday (see Story). I believe this works out to 2% of the total number of Americans who got married last year met through the site. is also mentioned due to stats they released recently (and then pulled) that says 12 couples got married or engaged everyday on their dating site (see Story).

The author, Carl, in a way defends the dating sites published stats when he says that:

One obstacle to further research is that newlyweds are hard for researchers to find. So online-dating companies looking to tout their success as matchmaking yentas have sought novel ways to enumerate marriages.

Less than 2 percent of Americans get married every year. To perform a survey and to get an accurate sample size 1.76 million phone calls would need to be made says Dr. Gonzaga of eHarmony. That would be a costly endeavor, so dating sites are forced to find creative ways to come up with some marriage numbers. The closest thing to an election-quality poll Carl could find was a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey, which in 2005 reported from a poll of 3,215 adults, that 3 million Americans found a long term relationship (not necessarily marriages) through a dating site.

A Comprehensive Study on Marital Instability

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I heard about a Australian study and paper called "What’s love got to do with it?" today on our local talk radio station. I also see that Markus over at the Paradigm Shift makes reference to it as well.

The data used in the study is from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (HILDA) and the paper will be presented at the 2009 HILDA Survey Research Conference on July 16 and 17 at University of Melbourne.

The study analyses a range of factors including the relationship between personality, gender and occupation. The researchers investigated individual and couple characteristics associated with marital instability and found that characteristics of men and women can have quite different impacts on marital stability.

This Australian paper takes a look at 2,482 married couples for 6 years (from 2001 to 2007) and attempts to identify the factors associated with marital problems.

Here are some of the higher risk factors associated with marital instability:

  • One partner smokes, and the other one doesn't (the same rule can be applied to drinking).
  • Almost twice as many marriages which had a low household income separated (16%) when compared to families who are financially stable (9%).
  • A woman who wants children more than her husband.
  • If the age difference is greater than 9 years (the man being older), it doubles your risk of separation.
  • Men who married under 25 years of age are twice as likely to divorce.
  • 20% of couples who had children (either together or from other relationships) before the marriage, divorced. It is only a 9% separation rate for couples who did not have children before the marriage.

This research paper is an excellent resource for dating site owners in helping to create a more accurate matchmaking system. While the data is out of Australia, their culture is not that much different from ours here in North America. For the most part, all of the popular dating sites have released very little information on how their matchmaking systems work. In part, it is because they want to keep trade secrets but they also worry about negative reviews from peers. I also have a feeling, a fair number of dating sites do not have any independent scientific research to back up their matchmaking algorithms.

Here is a local copy of the full paper.

Dating Success Doesn't Mean Marital Success

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From a survey which looked at dating and married couples relationships, researchers learned that the primary predictor of happiness in a relationship is your perception of, if your partner motivates and supports you to live up to your dreams and aspirations. With married couples there was one additional need found that is required to make a marriage a successful one. You must feel that your partner is helping you with your current obligations and responsibilities.

The significant finding, the researchers say, is that we often believe that if our dating partner gives us support to follow our dreams, they’ll probably support other parts of our life, namely our immediate responsibilities. But the ability to inspire a partner is not an accurate predictor of support for the more mundane and immediate obligations. And this can sometimes lead to a rude awakening when the church bells ring.

77 married couples and 92 dating couples participated in this survey which is to be published this summer in the journal, Psychological Science.

For the full story, read Scientific American.

Interracial Marriage Can be Hard

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Interracial couples still get stares when they go out in public in 2008/2009 according to an article at AlterNet. A number of their website readers have confirmed this as well. They have posted comments about their experiences as being part of a interracial couple or being part of an interracial family. I didn't think this issue would be as prevalent in today's world as the article suggests, especially with the rise of dating sites like They specialize in singles who want to meet other people from different cultures and backgrounds. Unfortunately, it is still a problem as the comments suggest. There are reports from many interracial couples who still get surprised stares or comments from both white and black people.

At the end of the article the author (who is a teacher) asks an interesting question

It's nothing compared to the discrimination racial minorities face everyday in America. But when my white students, for example, joyously remark that "racism is a thing of the past," I ask them to consider how their own parents would react if they brought home a black person to marry.

I do hope this is more just an older generation issue. With the world becoming a smaller place today with the Internet and the global economy interracial relationships are a rising trend and are becoming more popular.

Check out the full story at AlterNet and for more details on Interracial Match read our review.

Is eHarmony Responsible for a Third of all Marriages Resulting from Online Dating?

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I saw some interesting statistics on a website that mentions:

According to the US Census, 40% of American adults patronize the services of online dating sites resulting in about 120,000 marriages annually.

I searched the U.S. Census Bureau website for awhile and couldn't find the information mentioned in the quote. If this statistic is true, it would mean that eHarmony is responsible for a third of all marriages that resulted from online dating. According to eHarmony they are responsible for on average 118 marriages a day or 43,000 in one year, in the United States (see stats).

I am suspect of the number of total marriages resulting from online dating as mentioned in the quote above since, other facts didn't ring true in the article. As example, it also mentions:

China too expects dating patrons to grow in huge numbers. With 64 million singles residing in the nation, the market is expected to double in the present year.

The United States has a population of roughly 300 million with over 90 million singles. Canada has a population of 30 million with a third being single. This is the same ratio as the United States. China has a population of over 1.3 billion. I would expect them to have more that 64 million singles, a lot more! If the same ratio holds true then you would expect to see over 400 million singles.

For the full article called Internet Dating – The Good, Bad and Ugly, visit See our eHarmony Review for more information on this dating service.