Let’s crunch some numbers and see the relationship between online dating and marriage

It’s likely that you know at least one couple who met online, be that via Match, OkCupid, eHarmony, Tinder . . . the list goes on. But how many people are actually meeting their life partners on the Internet and how much have marriage statistics been impacted by dating sites? The answers may surprise you.

According to data collected from The New York Times’ Vows column by Hannah Smothers of Fusion, the average age of women who marry partners they met online is 53.5. For men, the average age is even higher, at 60. Half of these lovebirds were on their second or third marriages, and Match.com was the service that 50% of the couples who met online used to find each other (JDate was second, at about 20%). Smothers says these statistics could be indicative of the types of people who use online dating to find life partners, the assumption being that younger people have more opportunities offline to meet.

“Basically, the Internet, and the highly specified search ability it offers, gives people who find dating especially difficult — like people who don’t have access to a hormonal college community — new ways of meeting partners,” Smothers says. “These people tend to be slightly older, they’re likely divorced or widowed, and they’re often looking for love.”

Granted, you may want to take this data in context – the context being that the data comes from a very specific demographic: those who frequent The New York Times’ Vows column and agree to be spotlit. In fact, in the column’s impressive 813-piece archive, only 28 couples actually said they met online.

Smothers also points out that many of the couples featured in the Vows column may have met online, but just didn’t mention it in their articles, as well as the fact that all 28 of those who did meet as a result of online dating services are heterosexual – note the Times’ Weddings and Celebrations section began including wedding announcements for same-sex couples in 2002.

Bottom line? Marriages resulting from online dating are definitely becoming more common with older generations, and statistics show that the site the couples use does seem to play a big factor. But we might want to wait a few more years and then take some more general data. We have a sneaking suspicion more and more people will be meeting online by then, particularly people from our generation.

Related reading: 

There’s a wrong way to online date. I learned that the hard way.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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