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The Uncomfortable Racial Preferences Revealed by Online Dating

The data shown below come from the Facebook dating app, Are You Interested, which works like this: Users in search of someone for a date or for sex flip through profiles of other users and, for each one, click either "yes" (I like what I see) or "skip" (show me the next profile). When the answer is "yes," the other user is notified and has the opportunity to respond. It's very similar to another dating app, Tinder.

The graphic shows what percentage of people responded to a "yes," based on the gender and ethnicity of both parties (the data are only for opposite-sex pairs of people). Unsurprisingly, most "yes's" go unanswered, but there are patterns: For example, Asian women responded to white men who "yessed" them 7.8 percent of the time, more often than they responded to any other race. On the other hand, white men responded to black women 8.5 percent of the time—less often than for white, Latino, or Asian women. In general, men responded to women about three times as often as women responded to men.

Unfortunately the data reveal winners and losers. All men except Asians preferred Asian women, while all except black women preferred white men. And both black men and black women got the lowest response rates for their respective genders.

Perhaps most surprising is that among men, all racial groups preferred another race over their own.

AYI analyzed some 2.4 million heterosexual interactions—meaning every time a user clicked either "yes" or "skip"—to come up with these statistics. Its users skew older than Tinder’s—about two-thirds of AYI users are older than 35, according to a spokesperson.

This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.

Keywords: Dating

Ritchie S. King is a reporter and visual storyteller at Quartz, focusing on infographics and interactive features. All posts »

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