National Institute on Aging

Racial Preferences of the Internet Dating Community

umassResearch conducted by sociologists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst examines racial aspects of internet dating. The researchers tracked the racial and educational characteristics of nearly 1 million people from the nation’s 20 largest cities who had signed up on leading internet dating sites. They then tracked the inquiries sent and received by these individuals.

As expected, the results showed that people tended to attract inquiries from people of the same race or ethnic group. But there were major differences. White women responded mostly only to White men. Black women tended to have their inquiries ignored by people who are not Black.

The authors of the study write, “Being Black on the dating market – particularly being a Black female – means that one’s invitations are most likely to be ignored. The only group that responds regularly to Black men and women are one another. While White men are well-received when they contact daters of other groups, Black daters, particularly Black women, are largely confined to a segregated dating market.”

The results also showed that a higher level of education did not change White daters’ preferences for other Whites. The authors wrote, “White men and women with a college degree prefer to contact and reciprocate to White daters without a college degree over Black daters with a college degree.”

The research, “Mate Selection in Cyberspace: The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Education,” was published in the American Journal of Sociology. It may be accessed here.


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