An Honest Look at Online Dating

Online profiles vs reality

Apparently people who use online dating websites are self reportedly richer, taller, thinner, and better looking than the average person. Who would’ve guessed? But how honest are people really when it comes to sharing their personal information on dating sites?


Many women approaching 30 seek men to get married. But they have to be careful about who they choose. Dating an athlete could be a ball, but some tennis player aren’t even romantic because Love means nothing to them. Since we live in a digital world, online dating can be a legitimate way for people to meet each other. So let’s see what the landscape looks like.

The Economics of Online Dating

A study focusing on over 20,000 active users of dating sites in the United States is outlined in the book Freakonomics.

About 4% reported they earned over $200,000 a year. But only about 1% of the U.S. general population is making that much. Either government statistics are wrong or 3 out of the 4 users of online dating sites were inflating their earnings.

Both men and women tend to report as being an inch taller than the national average for their genders. But in terms of weight, men were in line with the national average while women apparently weighed 20 pounds less than the national average.



Looks Matter Quite a Lot

Online dating users are typically really good looking, according to themselves.

  • About 70% called themselves “above average.”
  • 30% chose “average.”
  • Roughly 1% said their looks were “less than average.”

How humble. Either most people with online dating profiles are genuinely physically appealing or they have an overinflated view of their appearances. Of course makeup and Instagram filters can alter the way we look.



28% of women said they are blond, which is a number much higher than the national average, which indicates either dyeing or lying. A man who does not include a photo gets 40% less attention than a man who does. Meanwhile, a woman who doesn’t include her photo gets 76% less attention.

Even a low income, poorly educated, unhappily employed, not very attractive, slightly overweight, and balding man but who includes a photo with his profile stands a better chance of receiving messages from women than a man who says he makes $200,000 a year and is deadly handsome but does not have a photo. It appears people just want to see the goods. Just like posting an ad to sell a car, if there’s no picture then potential buyers will think there might be something wrong with the car.


How To Get Results with Online Dating

Let’s take all the data collected and come up with a winning formula to give us the best odds to achieve our goals. Below are step by step things you can do to increase your chances of getting a date. 🙂

For men, looking for a woman. 

  1. Be white
  2. Be tall
  3. Have money
  4. Be ready to commit
  5. Be a doctor, lawyer, or go join the military

That’s all there is to it, fellas! You can exaggerate your height and income to appear tall and rich, and use whitening cream or makeup to look white if you aren’t already. Asian, black and Latino men receive fewer messages in general than white men.

White women in particular reply to white men twice as much as they reply to black and Latino men. Asian men receive fewer than 25% as many messages from white women as white men with the same levels of income and education. Men who say they want a long term relationship do much better than men looking for an occasional lover.


Women are eager to date military men, policemen, and firemen, along with men in professions that are typically associated with high income and social status. Women generally avoid men with blue collar jobs. Being short is a big disadvantage for men, but weight doesn’t really matter. The most important factor that women look for in men is income. The richer a man is the more messages he receives from female users.




For women, looking for a man.

  1. Be pretty
  2. Be employed
  3. Have a healthy weight
  4. Be blond
  5. Be flingy

For men, a woman’s looks are of paramount importance. Other factors do not seem to matter very much. That being said, men prefer to date women who make some kind of income compared to no income, but some men may lose interest once a woman starts earning too much money.

For women in the online dating world, being overweight is a big disadvantage. Having salt and pepper hair is not considered appealing, but having blond hair is very attractive. Women who say they want long term relationships don’t attract as many men as women who say they are looking for occasional lovers.


Here’s an interesting quote from the book.

“Roughly half of the white women on the site and 80% of the white men declared that race didn’t matter to them. But the response data tell a different story. The white men who said that race didn’t matter sent 90% of their email queries to white women. The white women who said race didn’t matter sent about 97% of their email queries to white men…

Is it possible that race really didn’t matter for these white women and men and that they simply never happened to browse a non-white date that interested them? Or, more likely, did they say that race didn’t matter because they wanted to come across – especially to potential mates of their own race – as open-minded?” ~Freakonomics p81.

That’s pretty much my take on the data as well. There’s a lot of misdirections, exaggerations, and lies in the online dating world. But it’s understandable why users would not be truthful about themselves. An online dating profile is essentially an advertisement of someone’s sexual market value. Like all ads, people want to give the best impression of themselves.

If you don’t make something sound interesting people won’t come to check out the goods. And since there are already so many liars in the system, anyone who doesn’t lie about themselves would become a disadvantaged patsy by default and wouldn’t get a date easily.

It seems to me that the online dating community is full of gender stereotypes, haha. But if nothing else at least it can teach us a great deal about human nature. 🙂


Random Useless Fact:


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Financial Canadian
07/25/2016 7:47 am

Super interesting post!

As a tall, white man with a decent income, maybe I should consider the world of online dating.

07/25/2016 11:38 am

You said

White women in particular reply to white men twice as much as they reply to black and Latino men.

But how about non white women ?

Lets says your interest is a black or asian woman, then I think that being black or asian yourself would increase your odds no ?

07/25/2016 11:59 am

I tried it for a while but it’s not for me (I’m male). I also think a good percentage of the female ads are actually guys or more accurately personal identity thieves….so I would recommend meeting in person in a public place before even giving out your real name or phone number

07/27/2016 7:34 pm

I’m always a fan of these statistics, and it’ll be interesting to see how it changes over time (if at all).

But one thing you may have overlooked is that wealthier people could potentially be more skewed to be on a particular online dating site. This isn’t to say that all 4 of 100 $200K+ earners were being honest, but it would not surprise me if there happened to be more big earners on a dating website because they find it difficult to attract someone in a similar income level in real life, if that is a priority for them. It’s harder to see one’s income in person, and dating websites can match people up based on income so there isn’t a huge disparity.

Just my 4 cents (or 2 cents, if I’m to be honest)! 🙂