We’re in the midst of a cultural sea change to one of the most central institutions in the life of the nation.

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According to Christian Rudder, the Harvard-educated data whiz who founded Ok Cupid, that’s not actually how it works. In a 2009 post on the dating site’s Ok Trends dating research blog, Rudder noted that there’s very little variation in how people of different races match up with each other based on the site’s algorithm, which analyzes their interests and spits out a score showing their compatibility.

There is a tight correlation between how well two people match each other and how likely they are to message each other back and forth—the best sign the site’s operators have that a relationship is blossoming.

Using the signs of the Zodiac as an example, Rudder found that every single Zodiac sign matches every other Zodiac sign at exactly the same 60 percent compatibility rate—save for a one point drop for inter-Aquarius pairings.

And yet, while the actual number of interracial relationships in the United States is certainly climbing, the overwhelming majority of Americans are in relationships with another person of their same race.

In 2010, only about 15 percent of new marriages were interracial—bringing the total number up to 8.4 percent from 3.2 percent in 1980.

Based on random matching alone, the expected proportion of interracial relationships in the United States should be as high as 44 percent.

This disparity indicates there’s still a considerable disconnect between what people think is “acceptable” when it comes to dating versus what they actually do themselves. On one hand, it may be that people tend to pick mates from their real-life social groups—people with whom they live, work, socialize, and go to school—and in the U. The other option, of course, is that most people, when given the choice, still prefer to be in relationships with someone who looks a lot like them, regardless of what they may tell a pollster.

Online dating sites like Ok Cupid and Tinder have given researchers a new window into how people conceptualize what they want (or don’t want) in a romantic partner.

As it turns out, race is a huge factor when it comes to making romantic connections online, one that puts certain groups at persistent, structural disadvantages.

There’s a good chance, however, the growing prevalence of online dating may actually be having the effect of breaking down racial barriers instead of erecting new ones.

People of the same race are inevitably going to have at least some shared experiences, simply because, in many ways, they are treated the same by the culture at large. So it would make sense that, outside of physical characteristics like skin color and eye shape, Asian people would have significantly more in common with Asian people, and black people would be more compatible with black people, and so on.