2018 research at The University of New Mexico is investigating the effect of the internet on building bridges across traditionally segregated communities.
The paper, ‘Online Exogamy Reconsidered: Estimating the Internet’s Effects on Racial, Educational, Religious, Political and Age Assortative Mating’, looked at data from 3000+ people from 2009 and 2017.
It found “couples who met online are more likely to be interracial, interreligious, and of different college degree status” than couples who met offline.
An additional finding was that they were also more likely to be of a similar age than people who met offline.
Non-dating sites, such as internet chatrooms, are supposedly linked to greater racial diversity in couples.
Dating apps were predictive of greater educational diversity, meanwhile.
The authors note that while online dating has the potential to introduce people who may not otherwise have met, people still engage with specific and filtered communities online.
“The net result for couple characteristics is more diversity than found in offline-formed couples, but far less than the potential of a boundary-less mating market would suggest”, the paper reads.
Another finding was that couples who met through a mixture of online and offline interaction did not differ substantially from those who met offline, suggesting that something about the types of connection made in diverse online communities was unique.
Read more here.