Race and Online Dating: Four Things About Racial Preferences Online

Whether we want to admit it or not, online dating isn’t entirely colorblind. The good news is, we’ve made great strides in recent decades as far as racial diversity and inter-racial relationships. The maybe-not-as-good news is, there are some clear preferences that both men and women online daters have where race is concerned. This NPR article explores the details of a study done on 2.4 million heterosexual interactions via the Facebook “Are You Interested” app; four of the key findings are as follows:

1. All men appear to be interested in women of different races than their own.

2. All women (except black women) seem to prefer white men.

3. Both black men and black women got the lowest rates of response to their messages out of all the races.

4. Nearly all men gravitate toward Asian women. The exception? Asian men.

Asian women are preferred by just about all men... Except Asian men.

Asian women are preferred by just about all men on online dating sites… Except Asian men.

Data from OKCupid supports many of these results. For example, OKCupid found that white men receive more replies to their messages from just about every group of women. White women prefer white men, but more interestingly, Asian and Hispanic women appear to prefer white men “even more exclusively.”

As uncomfortable as it may be, the data don’t lie. White men and Asian women clearly have an advantage in online dating when it comes to people of all races finding them attractive. But lest you despair of finding a mate, consider that many experts suspect that some of this data may be skewed. In the real world, the pairing of Asian women and white men isn’t as common as dating sites suggest, which could mean a variety of things. One theory is that there’s some Asian fetishism at play, a sort of “yellow fever” that makes Asian women attractive on screen but more ordinary in real life. Offline may be much different from online when it comes to real matchups.

Whatever the motivations, everyone has their own preferences for what they like. Be true to you!

Dating Sites By the Numbers

fingersThere are more dating sites on the web right now than anyone can count, with new ones springing up or shutting down every day. The site(s) you choose to join may depend on many factors, from overall membership numbers to cost to whether the site supports same sex matchups. Thanks to Wikipedia, we can give you a quick rundown of some of the more popular US online dating sites, in case you’re having trouble deciding on one. NOTE: This is by no means an exhaustive list, and if you’d like more info on these sites or any others, follow the wiki link above.


Membership: 96 million registered as of 2009, with 1.7 million active

Free? nope, this one will cost you, both for joining and for messaging other members.

Same sex couples ok? Yes!



Free? No, you have to pay to join and also to message other members.

Same sex couples ok? No, this is a hetero-only site.


Membership: 5.6 million active as of 2010

Free? Yep, this site is free to join and to message others.

Same sex couples ok? Yes!

Plenty of Fish

Membership: 40 million registered as of 2012

Free? You betcha. Free to join, free to message others.

Same sex couples ok? Yes!


Membership: 50 million as of 2011

Free? No, this one costs you to sign up and also send messages.

Same sex couples ok? Yes!


Membership: 9 million registered as of 2010

Free? Parts of it are, but the full site access will cost you.

Same sex couples ok? Yes!

Gay Romeo/Planet Romeo

Membership: 6.7 million registered, over a million active

Free? Communication and profile/page views are free

Same sex couples ok? That’s a stupid question. Yes.


Membership: 11 million as of 2010

Free? Parts of it are free, but communicating with other members is not

Same sex couples ok? Yes!


Membership: 197 million as of 2013

Free? There’s a free option, but premium services do cost money

Same sex couples ok? Yes!

Ashley Madison

Membership: 17.8 million as of 2013

Free? Partial access for free, but most of it costs

Same sex couples ok? Yes!