Patterns of response rates on OkCupid by sex & race


In the OkCupid post on response rates and race & sex there are two charts which show how males and females respond to inquiries of the opposite sex by race. So, you can see that black women on OkCupid respond positively to men in general, while women respond positively in particular to white men. In fact for many racial minorities women respond more positively to inquiries from white men than they do co-racialists (the same is not true of men). I suspect some of this has to do with the excess of men on OkCupid, combined with selection effects in terms of who joins OkCupid. OkCupid is generally a well-educated, liberal and younger set in general, but is probably more representative of whites than say Middle Easterners. Those who are Middle Eastern on OkCupid are more likely to be non-Muslim than would be th case in the general Middle Eastern American population (though last I checked, it still looks like the majority of American Arabs are not Muslim). For many ethnic and religious groups there are special tailored websites, like or Though no doubt there are conservative Arab Muslims on OkCupid, it seems very likely that they'll be underrepresented, while more assimilated Arabs from Christian backgrounds who aren't especially preoccupied with dating only Maronite Lebanese (for example) might be likely to select OkCupid. Some of these individuals might be selecting OkCupid to get outside of that box, and therefore not respond as positively toward co-ethnics as one might presume.

But I was wondering, what's the correlation of patterns of response? For example, in terms of various racial groups of the opposite sex do white men and white women respond similarly? How about the patterns of white men and black women? And so on. So what I did was take the columns of the responses and simply ran correlations in a pairwise fashion. Below the fold is a table which outlines the correlations. Labels which are italicized are male, those which are bolded are female. Bolded numbers are same-race opposite-sex correlations (e.g., Indian male-Indian female). Gray boxes represent correlations of 0.80 or above. The fact that most of the correlations are positive, if often small, suggests there are underlying similarities in patterns of response. Not too surprising when we see the cross-racial preference for white men among women in general, as well as the much stronger race consciousness among women as opposed for men in their avowed dating strategies.

Speaking of which, all I gotta say is that brown dudes are weird.

View horizontal table

Note: Since these are correlations across columns, you're seeing correlations of positive responses to inquries by x & y.

More like this

From a few I observed, I have a guess that is probably wrong. I think there is a window when women first fall in love and if there is availability and not much social pressure, they tend to fall in love with somebody outside the familiar group.

By gaddeswarup (not verified) on 15 Oct 2009 #permalink

I think there is a window when women first fall in love and if there is availability and not much social pressure,

this reminds me a bit of the "first assume" style of logic ;-) though seriously, of course dating sites are distorted. additionally, what people say and avow may differ from revealed preferences. e.g., many women are probably not physically attracted to strange looking non-coracialists, and almost surely worry that the aesthetic features which they prefer will be diluted by the impure mixed blood of their offspring (this is probably especially true of whites, who perceive their own phenotype in terms of purity/impurity so that recessivity is baked into the categorical cake, though i have heard people in colored races express the same worries). but if these non-coracialists are rendered concrete as opposed to abstract exemplars of some type then the interactions will differ. the survey data which show that white women would only date asian men who make $250,000 year plainly severely under-predict the number of pairings.

The two blocks are mirror images of each others: those who get ignored more, ignore others less. I guess you can explain much of the variance with a "neediness" dimension!

Or can you? Since this is about the reply rate, rather than absolute numbers, maybe some people are just more communicative - send more messages (with automatic lower probability of response) and respond to more messages as well. Wonder what the raw numbers are.

"the survey data which show that white women would only date asian men who make $250,000 year plainly severely under-predict the number of pairings"

The Hitsch paper (where this figure comes from) didn't show that Asian men needed this much money to date white women, but that this is what it took to equalize the response rate from white women.

By Jason Malloy (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

After I read the article, I wondered why the article was couched as yet another "Black women as the world's worst victim" piece. Clearly, according to OKCupid's own numbers, it is black men who come off as being in the worst dating situation, not black women. But then, they couldn't grab headlines and the attention of black women if they were to say that could they? Or maybe the owners of the OKCupid website (and the editors and managers of American media) simply don't give a sh*t enough about black men to even notice or care.

Let's go back and do the numbers again, this time comparing OKCupid's figures for the response rates black men and women achieve when sending messages to potential mates of various racial and ethnic groups:

Native American - 41% / Black - 28%
Other - 41% / Native American - 27%
Middle Eastern - 40% / Pacific Islanders - 25%
Black - 37% / Other - 24%
Indian - 37% / Indian - 21%
Hispanic - 36% / Middle Eastern - 21%
Pacific Islanders - 32% / White - 21%
White - 32% / Hispanic - 19%
Asian - 31% / Asian - 17%

In other words, even the LOWEST response rate received by black women from various racial and ethnic groups (31% from Asian men) was STILL higher than the HIGHEST response rate received by black men (28% from black women). But apparently the dating plight of black men is of no interest to OKCupid. Or, even worse, they assumed that the dating plight of black men would be of no interest to their readers- white, black or whatever. AND THEY WOULD PROBABLY BE RIGHT IN THAT UNFORTUNATE ASSUMPTION. After all, what is the value of black men in American society? Our value is close to ZERO (except, of course, when it comes to sports and entertainment). We can't even claim "worst position" even in situations that clearly demonstrate that we are in the "worst position."

OKCupid engaged in what the magicians call "misdirection." They suckered the public into looking in one direction when they should have been looking in another direction. American media does this all the time when it comes to the plight of black men as compared to that of black women. For example, based on the media stories to come out in past years about rates of HIV/AIDS you would be right to assume that black women suffer from higher rates of HIV/AIDS than black men-- and you would be wrong. In fact, the rate for black women is 60.6 (cases per 100,000), while that of black men is 136.8 (see the CDC website and this page in particular:

Moreover, the folks at OKCupid even decided to point out that black women were not even valued by black men, when it comes to the responses they received from potential mates ("Essentially every raceâincluding other blacksâsingles them out for the cold shoulder.") Yet a perusal of OKCupid's own numbers would show that when it comes to responding to potential mates, black men respond LEAST to black women AND black women respond LEAST to black men. The rate of response from black women to black men is higher than vice-versa, but black men and women are BOTH LAST on each other's agendas. See for yourself:

Pacific Islanders - 39% / Pacific Islander - 57%
White - 38% / Asian - 55%
Middle Eastern - 37% / Middle Eastern - 55%
Native American - 34% / Other - 52%
Asian - 34% / Indian - 51%
Indian - 34% / White - 51%
Other - 32% / Native American - 50%
Hispanic - 31% / Hispanic - 46%
Black - 28% / Black - 37%

That the folks at OKCupid could write an entire blog on the subject of race and dating and single out the plight of black women while ignoring that of black men is despicable. Sadly, it is also typical. Or perhaps the across-the-board stereotype of the "no good black man" is so profoundly and thoroughly ingrained that their pathetic response rate from potential mates is to be expected and is, therefore, of no consequence.

And that SUCKS

By Picturemann (not verified) on 19 Oct 2009 #permalink