People Just Want to Date Themselves
I’ve always found this idea kind of tenuous, but hard to deny:
The data reveals a clear pattern: People are interested in people like themselves. Women on eHarmony favor men who are similar not just in obvious ways — age, attractiveness, education, income — but also in less apparent ones, such as creativity. Even when eHarmony includes a quirky data point — like how many pictures are included in a user’s profile — women are more likely to message men similar to themselves. In fact, of the 102 traits in the data set, there was not one for which women were more likely to contact men with opposite traits.1
Men were a little more open-minded. For 80 percent of traits, they were more willing to message those different from them. They still preferred mates who were similar in terms of height or attractiveness2, but they cared less about these traits — and they didn’t care much at all about other things women cared about, like similarity in education level or number of photos taken.3 They cared less about whether their match shared their ethnicity.4
While the author is kind of careful, she does have a bit of a corrupted data set — using data almost exclusively form a website whose whole business model is matching similar people — she at least acknowledges it. Still would like to see someone find a better way to study the topic, but the basic fact that most couples are more similar than different is hard to deny.