Sorry if the title was too explicit. But, by far, these are the most interesting (and controversial) statistics I’ve encountered lately. I was initially writing this text as part of the next article but it became so lengthy that I decided to make it a separate post.
All the data presented in this article are based on user behaviours and responses to questionnaires on OkCupid, a popular (but not the most popular) dating site in the US. So, before reading this, please keep in mind that the majority of the users of OkCupid are US based.
They analysed the message reply rate based on gender and race. The results they came out with were very interesting to say the least. The original article dates back to 2009 so it’s not exactly fresh, but I think it’s still valid.
How Race Affects Men in On-line Dating
The chart below shows how likely you will be to get replies from girls based on race.
As well as seeing that girls don’t reply to guys’ messages that often, you will notice a big disparity between different races.
White males get replies from 1 in 3.4 girls. They are the most popular group. They are particularly popular with Indian, Asian, Latin and white women.
Indian males get replies from only 1 in 4.8 girls on the other hand. They are the least popular group. Indian men have the lowest response rate from Indian girls.
You’ll find other interesting numbers by looking hard at this table. For example:
Asian men, while being quite unpopular, do rather well with Middle Eastern women who are the most popular group of women. If you are an Asian male, you have the least chance with Indian girls as the reply rate is a mere 18%, while white guys enjoy a 39% reply rate. However, the reply rate from Middle Eastern women to Asian men is 27%, which compares very well to the 28% reply rate of white guys, who are the champions of on-line dating.
Indian and other Asian girls are particularly selective. It’s especially interesting that their reply rate is very low to Indian and Asian men. On the other hand, they show a strong preference for white guys.
It’s also important to mention that black and native American women are very generous with their responses. It would seem black girls are almost colour-blind if they weren’t so harsh towards black men. I don’t know why they almost seem to avoid black guys.
One of the comments in the original article said that minority girls choose OkCupid because they want to date guys of other ethnic groups. According to that comment, they would go to other dating sites for specific races if they wanted to date guys of their own ethnicity. I wonder if this is true. But I don’t think this is necessarily the case because minority guys respond to minority girls equally well.
How Race Affects Women in On-line Dating
Here’s how likely you are to get replies from guys if you are a girl.
Now the situation is different here.
Middle Eastern women are the most popular. 1 in 2 men write back to them.
The least popular group is black women, to whom only 1 in 2.9 men reply. This is a big difference compared to Middle Eastern women. (I don’t know why guys don’t write back to black women. They are the ones most willing to write back. I think guys are missing a lot.)
White guys are exceptionally selective. Their reply rate is way below average. But when Middle Eastern women write to them, their reply rate will jump up to 47%. In fact, there’s no single category of men who can resist the charm of Middle Eastern girls.
Middle Eastern males are not picky at all. Their average reply rate is 49.7%. They are also doing rather well with girls too. Are all the women secretly dating Middle Eastern guys? One might argue that Middle Eastern are some of the hottest people on earth. Did you know that people got kicked out of the country for being too handsome in Saudi Arabia?
Also, white women are the second least popular of all. This is particularly interesting because their male equivalents are the most popular. Remember that white women are very selective too.
All the guys, except black guys, respond well to the girls of their own race. This is something very different from the previous chart. So minority guys are not on OkCupid to date different kinds of girls. They are definitely not there to date white girls (who are the majority) either.
What about gays and lesbians?
They also have same-sex statistics.
Middle Eastern are more popular than white guys. White guys are still popular, but Middle Eastern are even more so.
Indian and black guys are doing much better here even though they remain relatively unpopular.
Gay guys don’t avoid other guys of their own race. This is somewhat consistent with the girl-to-guy reply rate.
Lesbians are almost colour-blind. Out of all the charts we have seen, this one shows the weakest preference in terms of race. Please note the sample size of Indian women is very small so the numbers are not that reliable.
Lesbian girls don’t avoid women of their own race. This is very different from the men-to-women reply rate.
Apparently, gays and lesbians are more colour-blind than straight people.
People Have Strong Race Preferences When it Comes to Dating
We have seen that people tend to have strong race preferences in dating. You may argue that different races have different personalities, which result in the disparity in response rates.
Actually, OkCupid shows that there’s no significant difference between races in terms of match, which is based on answers that the users submit.
As you can see, race hardly affects how likely you are to be compatible with the other person.
So, is it really race itself that is in question?
You might still argue that the match rate doesn’t necessarily mean a high reply rate. This makes sense. People of different backgrounds might have different ways of writing messages which may or may not be well received by other people.
But there’s a correlation between match and reply rate. So a high match rate is supposed to mean a high reply rate.
It is very likely that race is the factor that affects the response rate. (It’s still possible that there are other hidden factors though.)
In fact, 45% of the white people (40% of men and 54% of women) on OkCupid explicitly say that they prefer dating exclusively other white people.
Apparently some people are quite conscious about dating exclusively.
It’s too bad that they didn’t compare the results state by state. I think that there will be some differences between the states. Diverse states can be more colour-blind.
By the way, gay people are much less exclusive when it comes to dating. Check out this one.
How Do I See This Personally?
While I find this research very interesting, I don’t worry too much about it when it comes to my own dating life. There are several reasons:
- The research subjects are mostly American – the majority of people on OkCupid are American. I would imagine that these results are not necessarily applicable to other countries. How about Brazil? France? Trinidad and Tobago? I bet the results would be quite different.
- The results are nationwide – the numbers represent the whole nation, which includes urban and rural areas alike. I think that there would be weaker preferences in the areas where the population is more diverse.
- 17% of women still reply – The worst reply rate on the tables is 17%, for the percentage of Asian girls who write back to black men. This is as low as it can get. But wait, 17% of women still reply! 1 in 5.8 doesn’t sound too hopeless. Likewise, 46% of the white women are still happy dating men with different backgrounds, which is not bad at all.
- They are just statistics – everyone is different. If your personal experience tells a different story from these data, it’s completely normal. Let’s face it: some people are just popular regardless of their skin colour. (I wish I was one of them though.) So don’t get agitated if you happen to ‘disagree’ with the data. They are just numbers and don’t factor in any other variables that might play a huge role in dating.
- Not enough samples for minorities – the majority of OkCupid users are white. For example, black people represent only 4.6% of the total female members in the last example. According to the US Census Bureau, the total black population of the US was 13.6% in 2010. Also, there are non-Americans on OkCupid too. There are simply too many other factors that are not taken into account.
- OkCupid doesn’t necessarily represent the physical world accurately – texting is a very limited form of communication. There’s a lot more you can do in real life. Obviously, your success in dating depends on your overall attractiveness including your personality and social skills rather than a single race factor.
So ladies and gentlemen, don’t be discouraged if you are not in the most popular category. (Neither am I.) You can date whoever you want. You just have to try a little bit harder sometimes.
(All the source of the information in this article is here, unless specified otherwise.)