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There are close to 100 million single adults in the United States alone.
Of those, 40 million use online dating services [ref]. claims responsibility for more than 9,000 marriages.
While some of the numbers may be fuzzy, one thing is certain –- the use of online dating services continues in huge numbers.
According to Online Media Daily, consumer spending on personals and dating sites rose by 8 percent in the first half of 2005, topping 5 million.
Those 30 million people have generated billions of pieces of data.
And because most dating sites ask users to give consent for their data to be used for research purposes, this online courting has played out like an enormous social science experiment, recording people's moment-by-moment interactions and judgments.
Once you’ve filled out a profile, online dating sites will provide a list of matches -- people they think you are compatible with. The more matching attributes that two profiles have, the higher “match percentage” the site will assign to it.
If it’s very important to you that your date has a college degree, you can rank that very high.
Specific facts and figures for online dating are hard to come by.
For obvious reasons, each individual site tends to inflate membership numbers and success rates in its promotional materials.
A team led by Elizabeth Bruch, a sociologist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, tapped into this torrent of dating data.
Because of a nondisclosure agreement, the researchers can't reveal the exact source of their subjects, describing it only as an "established, marriage-oriented, subscription-based dating site" from which they randomly selected 1855 people, all based in New York City.
After each date, the singles give the matchmaker feedback on compatibility and appropriateness of the match.