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Online Dating Soars in 2014

Online Dating relationships that began online are slightly happier

More than a third of recent marriages in the USA started with online dating, according to a study out Monday that presents more evidence of just how much technology has taken hold of our lives.

online dating“Societally, we are going to increasingly meet more of our romantic partners through online dating as we establish more of an online presence in terms of social media,” says Caitlin Moldvay, a dating industry senior analyst for market research firm IBISWorld in Santa Monica, Calif. “I do think mobile online dating is going to be the main driver of this growth.”

The research, based on a survey of more than 19,000 individuals who married between 2005 and 2013, also found relationships that began as online dating are slightly happier and less likely to split than those that started offline.

Findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, put the percentage of married couples that now meet online at almost 35% — which gives what may be the first broad look at the overall percentage of new marriages that result from meeting online. About 45% of couples met on online dating sites; the rest found their online dating partner through social networks, chat rooms, instant messaging or other online forums.

“Does this study suggest that meeting using online dating is a compelling way to meet a partner who is a good marriage prospect for you? The answer is ‘absolutely,'” he says. But it’s “premature to conclude that online dating is better than offline dating.”

Sociologist Michael Rosenfeld of Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., says the numbers seem “reasonable.”

He says his own research, published last year in the American Sociological Review, found 22% of newly formed couples had met by online dating, “but couples who meet online are more likely to progress to marriage than couples who meet in other ways.” He says his new analysis of nationally representative data found that of 926 unmarried couples followed from 2009 to 2012, those who met online were twice as likely to marry as those who met offline.

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