As the Internet's role in creating new couples continues to expand, now accounting for over a third of recently-formed U.S. couples, its impact on endogamy is increasingly consequential. While there are good reasons to expect greater diversity from online romantic sources, there are also good sociological reasons to predict greater assortativity online. Increases in the rates of interracial and interreligious couples within the U.S. have occurred seemingly in tandem with the rise of online dating, but the evidence connecting online romances and couple heterogeneity have been limited and mixed. Using a unique nationally-representative dataset collected in 2009 and 2017 on how U.S. couples met, and controlling for the diversity of their local geographies, I find that couples who met online are more likely to be interracial, interreligious, and of different college degree status, but also more similar in age. Couples who met online are not more nor less likely to cross political boundaries, however, and not more nor less likely to have educationally different mothers. These exogamy differences can vary by where on the Internet couples met. Population-level estimates suggest that only a small part of the recent changes in couple diversity can be directly attributed to couples meeting online, but there is the potential for more Internet-induced change if it continues to expand as the modal source of romance.


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pp. 1257-1286
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