29 Jan 2015

Big data and online dating: what we have learned about ourselves

Big data is absolutely everywhere – and an industry that has really turned big data into money is that of online dating. Many sites rely on taking your answers to sets of survey questions, and analysing them carefully against huge amounts of data to give you a potential match. From these processes, we are left with many interesting insights into the world of people, who they are, what they like, and of course, the types of people they desire.

The following are a compilation of some of the more interesting statistics, provided to us through the magic of online dating big data.


There is almost a 1:1 correlation between how people rate your attractiveness and your personality

Dating site OkCupid once gave people the option to rate the attractiveness and personality of profiles they were matched with to better get to know what types of profiles that appealed to them. After an analysis of the data, it was found that if people found you attractive they found your personality attractive too; and if they found you unattractive, they tended to find your personality matched.

To test this, OkCupid put up a blank profile with a picture of an attractive women in a bikini, and she ended up in the top 1% percent for personality.


When it comes to online dating, there are a lot of differences between men and women

Some key findings in the stats are:

  • A woman’s desirability peaks at 21
  • At 26, women have more online pursuers then men
  • By 48, men have twice as many online pursuers than women
  • Men lie most about their age, height and income
  • Women lie most about their weight, physical build and age
  • Men prefer blonde, brown and red headed women
  • Women prefer silver, gray and bald men.


There are three things couples have in common that determine the long-term future of their relationship

Surprisingly, the future of a relationship can’t be well determined by things like a mutual love of kids, or the compatibility of your religious views. Big data allowed online dating sites to work out the questions that successful couples most frequently answered the same, and these key questions are:

Do you like horror movies?

Have you ever travelled around another country alone?

Wouldn’t it be fun to throw it all away and go live on a sailboat?

People who have the same answers to these questions are more likely to have successful relationships.