In my research, I’ve found that present-day partners who first connected online are more likely to be interracial and of different ethnicities than those who met other ways (30 percent versus 23 percent). They are also more likely to be from different religions (51 percent versus 38 percent), both in how they were raised and in which religion they practice as adults. Couples who met online are also more likely to have one college graduate and one nongraduate (30 percent versus 22 percent), bridging the biggest educational and social class divide in America today. And it isn’t just the weakest racial boundaries than get crossed more online: Black-white couples, perhaps the most heavily discouraged type of couple diversity in American history, are more likely to occur from online dating than offline (8 percent versus 3 percent).

The research used probability samples of American adult couples from 2009 and 2017, using a survey completed online but including those who did not have prior internet access to ensure accurate representation across the country.

It isn’t clear from this research if these effects are changing as internet dating evolves and grows, but as the numbers of people who find love online continues to climb, the impact of the phenomenon on the diversity of the U.S. population of couples as a whole is increasing. Greater numbers of diverse couples in turn change the demographics of their communities, their workplaces, their religious groups, their children’s schools and so on.