Online Dating Is Becoming The Norm

Robert VerBruggen

My wife and I met as freshmen in a small college astronomy class in the spring of 2003. Neither of us even had a cell phone, and smartphones weren’t yet on the market. At the time, it was rare to find a romantic partner online: state-of-the-art communication tools, such as AOL Instant Messenger, were mainly used to talk to people you already knew. (My screen name was “loudguitars1.”)

Young people today are doing things differently, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week. (There’s an ungated draft here.) Combining the results of surveys conducted in 2009 and 2017, three researchers led by Stanford’s Michael Rosenfeld were able to plot the ways people met their partners against the years in which the meetings took place.

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