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Instead of meeting our partners in school, at work, or through friends and family, many of us now meet them online.
Some 39% of heterosexual couples that got together in the US in 2017 met online, according to a recently released study (pdf) by sociologists Michael Rosenfeld and Sonia Hausen of Stanford University and Reuben Thomas of University of New Mexico.
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The data also show that between 1995 to 2017, meeting through friends saw the largest decline, from 33% of couples at the start of the period to just 20% at the end.“It used to be that finding a partner is something one did with their community,” says Thomas.
“Now it is basically an individual quest.” This has also created a billion-plus industry to help people on that quest (paywall).
Thomas and his counterparts’ research paper is currently under review for publication in an academic journal.
The data in the study come from the How Couples Meet and Stay Together survey, which is the most comprehensive data collected on romantic relationships in the US.
Research suggests that online dating has led to more interracial marriages, more couples with different religions and levels of education, and also pairings with partners who tend to be closer in age (pdf).The survey allows for multiple answers to the question about how people met, so a recent rise of people meeting at bars and restaurants is not down to serendipity but rather people who arranged to meet for dinner or a drink via online dating sites.The study by Thomas, Rosenfeld, and Hausen finds that the share of couples meeting online has just about doubled since 2009.Pete is now dating a woman named Georgina, who he's described as a "game changer".Making acquaintances thanks to top free online dating sites is currently one of the most popular ways of meeting foreigners for various purposes starting from a simple communication and finishing with the development of serious relationships or even a marriage.