How Online Dating Is Changing Partner Selection

A new sociology study from the University of British Columbia (UBC) has revealed that online dating websites, chatrooms and apps have had a notable influence on how Canadians choose romantic partners. Researchers from UBC examined how heterosexual Canadians met and selected their partners based on age, nativity, education and race.

The study found that the increase in online dating has led to people choosing partners outside of their typical dating pools and resulted in relationships between individuals of different immigrant status such as Canadian-born individuals and immigrant Canadians or different education levels. Researchers also noted that participating in online dating reduces one’s chances of partnering with someone outside of their age group. According to UBC associate professor of sociology and lead study author Yeu Qian, online dating has granted individuals access to a diverse group of potential partners and underscored the segregation that typically affects our social networks.

Qian and her colleague based their study on a national survey from 2018 that compared data between Canadian couples who met via different online channels, such as school, church or work, and those who met online. Qian notes that couples who meet through school, friends, family and work tend to be of similar race, immigration status and education. On the other hand, online dating spaces such as apps, chatrooms and websites allow people to meet potential partners from outside their immediate social circle.

The result is more diverse couple pairings compared to preinternet dating. For instance, online dating is associated with a higher likelihood of a Canadian-born individual partnering up with an immigrant. The researchers posit that this may be due to online dating technologies blurring the social boundaries associated with immigration.

University of British Columbia researchers also found that online dating encourages relationships between individuals with different levels of education, particularly between more educated men and less educated women. This data validates past research, which found that higher-educated women are less likely to contact or respond to less-educated men on online dating platforms.

Interestingly, the study found that while online dating doesn’t necessarily promote interracial dating, couples who were introduced by friends or family were more likely to be of a similar race compared to couples who met on online platforms. Qian noted that with many single people interested in meeting a partner, those who choose online dating should “keep an open mind” and embrace the diversity of the online dating pool.

The UBC study was the first Canadian study of its kind, but its results were fairly consistent with findings from similar studies in other western nations. Qian concluded that the research could be expanded by studying additional metrics such as different virtual dating options (websites vs. digital apps), regional dating pattern differences, and how the topic affects gender and sexual-minority couples.

It would be interesting to hear the take of enterprises such as Momo Inc. (NASDAQ: MOMO), which primarily serve the Chinese market. Does their data show similar effects of online dating on partner selection as this study that focused on the Canadian dating scene?

About ChineseWire

ChineseWire (“CW”) is a specialized communications platform with a focus on promising China-based companies that are listed in North America. It is one of 60+ brands within the Dynamic Brand Portfolio @ IBN that delivers: (1) access to a vast network of wire solutions via InvestorWire to efficiently and effectively reach a myriad of target markets, demographics and diverse industries; (2) article and editorial syndication to 5,000+ outlets; (3) enhanced press release enhancement to ensure maximum impact; (4) social media distribution via IBN to millions of social media followers; and (5) a full array of tailored corporate communications solutions. With broad reach and a seasoned team of contributing journalists and writers, CW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that want to reach a wide audience of investors, influencers, consumers, journalists and the general public. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CW brings its clients unparalleled recognition and brand awareness. CW is where breaking news, insightful content and actionable information converge.

For more information, please visit

Please see full terms of use and disclaimers on the ChineseWire website applicable to all content provided by CW, wherever published or re-published:

Los Angeles, CA
310.299.1717 Office
[email protected]

ChineseWire is powered by IBN


Select A Month

Contact us: (310) 299-1717