How couples meet
Click to view full-size (the same goes for the data posted below). The figure is from Searching for a Mate: The Rise of the Internet as a Social Intermediary, by Rosenfeld and Thomas.
“we show that gays, lesbians, and middle aged heterosexuals- three groups who inhabit thin markets for romantic partners- are particularly likely to have found their partners online. Individuals are in a thin market for potential partners when the cost of identifying multiple potential partners who meet minimum criteria may be large enough to present a barrier to relationship formation. We propose that for single adults in thin dating markets, improvements in the efficiency of Internet search may be especially useful and important. Conversely, single people (college students, for example) who are fortunate enough to inhabit an environment full of eligible potential partners may not need to actively search for partners at all.”
The last part of that sentence had me laughing, but it’s an interesting paper. Of course in general they’re probably right – in the discussion they note that:
“Young heterosexual adults, who we presume to be among the most technologically savvy people in society, are among the least likely to meet partners online. Young adults have single others all around them which renders the search advantages of the Internet mostly irrelevant. In environments rich with potential partners, old fashioned face-to-face socializing still trumps online search.”
Here’s another interesting observation:
“Searching the personal advertisements in the pre-Internet era meant thumbing through the newspaper classified section by hand. Print advertisements could only be examined one issue at a time. Perhaps that is why only 4 out of 3,009 couples in the dataset reported meeting through the newspaper classifieds (even though a majority of the sample met before the Internet era).”
Lastly, some tables from the paper:
(there’s basically no difference)
Note that there’s again pretty much no difference. Only the ‘met-through-friends’-variable was significant for the adjusted odds ratio measure and maybe that’s just a fluke. The raw ‘met-in-church’ odds ratio is highly significant, but once you control for relationship duration, children, race, religion and other stuff, the effect disappears completely.