“It’s unprecedented.”For most of human history, the choice of life partner was limited by class, location and parental diktat.In the 19th and 20th centuries those constraints were weakened, at least in the West.The benefits are clearest for people whose preferences mean that discovering possible partners is particularly hard, either because of social isolation or physical isolation.Same-sex dating, which both operates in a smaller pool than heterosexual dating and is illegal or socially unacceptable in many places, is a particular beneficiary.
A great deal of the relevant data are treated as proprietary by the companies gathering them.
Today dating sites and apps account for about a sixth of the first meetings that lead to marriage there; roughly the same number result from online encounters in venues not devoted to such matters.
As early as 2010 the internet had overtaken churches, neighbourhoods, classrooms and offices as a setting in which Americans might meet a partner of the opposite sex.
Once confined to particular times and places, dating can extend everywhere and anywhere.
Not all countries and classes are adopting online dating at the same rate or in the same way.
Tinder has 3.8m paying subscribers; a number of its founders and early employees are suing Match on the basis that it had intentionally undervalued the company to avoid making big payouts.