Online dating leads to more diverse societies - and you don’t just need to take our word for it

Online dating has many, many benefits; however, a pair of European economists now believe that the rise in online dating is also leading to more diverse societies.

According to research conducted by economists Josué Ortega from the University of Essex in the UK, and Philipp Hergovich from the University of Vienna, Austria, the growth of online dating may be the key factor in the steep rise of interracial marriages in the US.

The pair investigated interracial marriage rates and discovered that while they’ve been steadily rising in the US since the 1950’s, there were steeper spikes in interracial relationships in years such as 1995 when the first online dating sites appeared on the scene and also in years such as 2004 when online dating became more normalised. There was also a jump around 2014 when new app-based dating sites entered the space.

While online dating can’t simply be credited solely for creating this change, Ortega and Hergovich acknowledge that people used to marry those who they were somehow connected to, for example, friends of friends, schoolmates, neighbours etc. Meaning that since we used to be more connected to people similar to us, we were likely to marry someone from our own race.

However, online dating has changed this pattern, namely because people who meet online tend to be complete strangers.

While the pair focused their study on the US, they claim that this pattern is likely to be observed all over the world. They also noted that it only takes a few matches to make big societal changes, with the paper observing that a few connections can really change the extent of the diversity in our societies.

Well, we already believed that online dating was a powerful tool for change, however having the data and the economists on our side couldn’t make us happier. Because a diverse world is one we definitely want to be in.

If you want to deep dive into the data, you can read the full paper here for yourself here.

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