Historically, most people met their partner like this.
And because they were usually tangentially connected in some way—a relationship of proximity, in a sense—they were often similar, especially when it came to race.
But widespread online dating has upended that tradition.
When you meet a potential match online, they’re typically a complete stranger, someone totally out of your orbit (unless you live in a small town).
She covered politics for a newspaper in Juneau, Alaska, before driving down to balmy Minnesota to help produce long-standing public affairs show “Almanac” at Twin Cities PBS. Reach her via email at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @katecmoritz and on Instagram @yepilikeit.
“During the 2000s decade, the percentage of new marriages that are interracial changed from 10.68 percent to 15.54 percent, a huge increase of nearly 5 percentage points, or 50 percent,” the researchers wrote.
As online dating became more popular, interracial marriages continued to increase. “It is interesting that this increase occurs shortly after the creation of Tinder, considered the most popular online dating app,” Ortega and Hergovich wrote.
“Tinder, created in 2012, has approximately 50 million users [worldwide] and produces more than 12 million matches per day.” The researchers’ findings don’t prove that online dating is solely responsible for increased racial integration of social circles. Still, real-world relationships do follow spikes in digital use, everything from brief affairs to marriage.
With so many people making connections like this these days, there’s a cross-pollination of social circles that didn’t exist previously, the researchers believe.
The way couples meet changed significantly with the advent of online dating.