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Online dating study measures who’s ‘out of your league’ in Seattle

Photo: Pete Saloutos

SEATTLE – Scientists set out to measure what scientifically constitutes someone to be ‘out of your league,’ finding that white men and Asian woman ranked highest for desirability.

Both men and women also message people who are on average 25 percent more desirable than them, according to the study published in an online journal.

Scientists analyzed heterosexual dating markets using a popular, free online dating service in Seattle, Boston, Chicago and New York – defining desirability by the number of messages someone receives, including the desirability of the people sending those messages. They looked at age, ethnicity and education of users.

The number of people using the online dating service totaled in the hundreds of thousands, with scientists measuring the number of words per message and how long it took someone to respond. They found that one word messages were just as likely to get a response as long, drawn out ones.

Seattle was the exception – men who wrote longer messages had a greater chance of getting a reply. Seattle’s dating climate was also seen as ‘unfavorable’ for men, with as many as two men per woman using the online dating service.

Across the four cities, older women were less desirable and postgraduate education even lowered their ranking. Their desirability peaked at age 18 and declined until age 60. The opposite was for men, with their desirability increasing until 50.

User data was anonymous and didn’t include personal information or message content.

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