Social scientists have measured this hostility using a variety of methods.

Many of these instruments, however, are biased by subjects’ desire not to appear prejudiced (5) as well as by the limits of conscious awareness (7).

Also, unlike socioeconomic status, it is a characteristic we are born with but powerless to change.

Aside from its nature, the repercussions of racial background also are distinctly powerful in scope: Its consequences span from economic stratification—in which almost all racial groups experience lower median family incomes and higher rates of unemployment and poverty than do whites (1, 2)—to spatial segregation—in which minorities are disproportionately likely to live in neighborhoods characterized by crime, disorder, and concentrated disadvantage (3, 4)—to the deep-seated interpersonal hostility that has tainted American race relations since the birth of this country (5, 6).

Most studies of romantic ties rely on marriage records—but as couples marry later (16) and divorce often (17), these data tell us less today than ever before.

Data on romantic networks tend to focus on outcomes rather than interactions (12), which obscures the underlying processes responsible for generating observed patterns.

Third, because the composition of site membership is known, it is relatively straightforward to disentangle preferences from opportunity constraints.

Fourth, these data are unhindered by the limitations of self-report, given that they capture actual behaviors in a “natural” (if digital) environment.

However, this high degree of self-segregation peaks at the first stage of contact.

First, users from all racial backgrounds are equally likely or more likely to cross a racial boundary when reciprocating than when initiating romantic interest.

First, I find that users from all racial backgrounds are equally likely or more likely to cross a racial boundary when reciprocating than when initiating romantic contact.