Further proof that all statistics — particularly statistics on sex and dating — lie. Online dating apps have been accused of fueling hook-up culture, and killing romance and even the dinner date, but their effects on society are deeper than originally thought. The rise of internet dating services could be behind stronger marriages, an increase in interracial partnerships, and more connections between people from way outside our social circles, according to a new study by economics professors Josue Ortega at the University of Essex and Philipp Hergovich at the University of Vienna in Austria.To be sure, many people remain puzzled that someone would want to find a romantic partner online – 23% of Americans agree with the statement that “people who use online dating sites are desperate” – but in general it is much more culturally acceptable than it was a decade ago.Online dating has jumped among adults under age 25 as well as those in their late 50s and early 60s.When we first studied online dating habits in 2005, most Americans had little exposure to online dating or to the people who used it, and they tended to view it as a subpar way of meeting people.
This is not, strictly speaking, a paper about online dating.
and getting funding from so many deeply invested companies), that it’s only too easy to cherry-pick one finding or statistic and run really, really far with it.
So we decided to look at the research in all its messy, contradicting totality: Here’s every major study we could find about the wider social impacts of online dating.
There are, it turns out: Bellou concludes that “Internet expansion is associated with increased marriage rates” among 20-somethings, and hypothesizes that the relationship is causal — in other words, that greater access to online dating, online social networks and other means of communicating with strangers directly causes people to pair up.
As Brad Plumer observed at the time, of course, this doesn’t definitively prove a casual relationship; it’s still very possible that the two things just tend to go hand-in-hand, and don’t contribute to each other.