Dating in the digital age | The Economist

People have always fallen in love There's nothing new about that, but what is new is the way they're meeting

Our cover this week in The Economist is on modern love and the digital dating platforms that provide it In America today, about one third of marriages begin online and around the world there are 200 million people using dating platforms The biggest change is that online dating has massively expanded the pool of partners that a person can potentially meet Before, you might have been limited to the bar or your social group or your class, whereas now, you have tens of thousands of people to choose from online Online dating does have real problems though

Before the age of the Internet dating was more of a social activity and you could always tell yourself that you were just having a drink in a bar with your friends Online dating takes that away and it's just you and the market Whatever your place in it is harshly apparent to you This can cause anxiety disorders and online dating has even been linked to depression According to messaging patterns analyzed on dating platforms Asian men are ranked as much less desirable than Asian women

Black women are ranked as less desirable than black men by the same measure There are biases in terms of gender too Desirability of women starts high at 18 and then drops all the way through their lives In contrast, men start off less desirable and then their desirableness grows and grows until their 50 and then it trails off slowly However, there is evidence that online dating is driving an increase in interracial marriages, at least in America

You can, even if you don't tend to, meet people of other races to yourself Overall then, online dating seems to be a good thing It does have its problems, but it's helping people to bypass social barriers and to find better partners faster

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