Online dating sites increase interracial dating, says study

Interracial marriages have grown much more common in the last 20 years, and online dating may have been a key contributing factor.
By Joseph Scalise | Oct 11, 2017
The percentage of Americans marrying outside their races increased substantially after 1995, the same year that Match.com went live, notes a new research study published on the research blog ArVivand its two authors don't think it's a coincidence. They analyzed the trends in social networks over the decades and found evidence that online and app-based dating changes is fundamentally changing how modern adults interact with each other in ways that promote greater mixing of different ethnicities.

Graduate student Josue Ortega of the University of Essex in the United Kingdom coauthored the paper with doctoral student Philipp Hergovich of the University of Vienna in Austria. The two noted that historically, a person's social network consisted primarily of family members and people in his or her immediate community but that, as opportunities to meet romantic partners online or via a mobile phone proliferated, adults gained far more opportunities to connect with total strangers.

This includes strangers of other ethnic groups. The authors traced a sudden increase in interracial dating in the United States after 1995 and noticed the trend accelerate through 2000 and make another major jump up after 2014. They pointed out that Match.com's 1995 debut corresponded with the first major increase and that the rollout of Tinder in 2014 matched with the second, while the steady growth of online dating's popularity in intervening years might have contributed to the growth of interracial dating in the years in between.

"It is interesting that this increase occurs shortly after the creation of Tinder, considered the most popular online dating app," Ortega and Hergovich said. "The change in the population composition in the U.S. cannot explain the huge increase in intermarriage that we observe."

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