What's Race Got To Do With Online Dating?

A woman typing on her laptop with a yellow coffee mug beside herThere are many advantages and disadvantages to online dating. Where does race fit in that spectrum?

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Apparently, race still matters online. People still self-segregate as much as they do in face-to-face interactions; most, that is, still reach out to members of their own racial background. But people are more likely to reciprocate a cross-race overture than previous research would lead to us to expect. And — once they have replied to a suitor from a different race — people are then themselves more likely to cross racial lines and initiate interracial contact in the future.

A study of romantic social networks considered only heterosexual interactions, for apples-to-apples comparison with the majority of previous findings, and only those individuals, for the sake of simplicity, who self-identify with one and only one of the top five most populous of OkCupid’s racial categories: Black, White, Asian (East Asian), Hispanic/Latino and Indian (South Asian).

Only the first message sent and the first reply were analyzed. All messages were stripped of content. Only data on the sender, receiver and timestamp of the message were available.