Does the Internet Affect Assortative Mating? The Case of Educational, Racial and Religious Endogamy

Gina Potarca, Université de Lausanne

During the last years finding a partner via the Internet became increasingly popular, transforming the dating landscape and the process of relationship initiation. This study revisits Blau’s social structure theory and the supply perspective on assortative mating by exploring the role played by digital marriage markets, in breeding couples’ socio-demographic similarity. It examines the educational, racial and religious endogamy of couples that met through the Internet compared to other contexts such as friends, family, neighbors, school etc. The analysis is performed for 2,970 partnered individuals in the U.S. and 8,144 in Germany. Using log-multiplicative models that allow for the strength of partners’ association to vary along meeting settings, I find that the Internet promotes weaker couple endogamy compared to contexts such as school, family, or religious venues. This finding contests the universal norm of endogamy and shows that the Internet has the potential to reduce barriers between social groups.

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Presented in Session 196: Marriage Markets and Assortative Mating