In the Face of Rising Intermarriage Numbers, Humor and Similar Cultural Background Remain Key To American Relationships, People Media Study Finds

Americans Rank Shared Values Like Sense of Humor and Similar Cultural Background Over Appearance, Education and Financial Status

AARP Life@50+

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--()--While more Americans are marrying across racial and ethnic lines as reported in a recent Pew Research Center study, a new survey finds that a sense of humor and a similar cultural background are the characteristics people value most when looking for a soul mate.

According to a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted for People Media, Inc. (www.peoplemedia.com), the No. 1 provider of targeted online dating communities, fully three-quarters of the population believe a sense humor or a common cultural background are paramount for relationship success. These factors dwarf the more external aspects of a potential mate such as appearance, educational level and financial state.

The survey asked: “In addition to chemistry, which one of the following do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a relationship partner?”

  • 45 percent -- Sense of humor
  • 30 percent -- Similar cultural background
  • 10 percent -- Appearance
  • 7.3 percent -- Educational level
  • 6.8 percent -- Financial state

"Similar attitudes and values between partners are critical to the longevity of relationships,” said Dr. Terri Orbuch, a psychologist and research professor at the University of Michigan known as The Love Doctor, who also is a relationship expert for People Media’s SeniorPeopleMeet.com. “Having a similar background – be it religion, race, ethnicity or lifestyle – acts as a frame of reference that both partners share. These shared perspectives enhance communication and one’s ability to be, and feel, understood. This helps create a sort of ‘emotional shorthand’ that is beneficial to healthy relationships.”

The importance of finding someone with a similar cultural background provides an interesting counterpoint to a recent Pew Research Center study showing that the percentage of interracial and interethnic marriages more than doubled between 1980 and 2008 and occurred at six times the rate of 1960. However, with one in seven new marriages considered interethnic or interracial, intermarriages comprise just 14.6 percent of all new marriages in the U.S.

The survey results also help explain the dramatic growth of targeted online dating sites. People Media, an innovator in the online personals space since 2002, operates 27 targeted sites including SeniorPeopleMeet.com, which draws more than 2 million unique visitors a month and is the largest dating site catering to single seniors. People Media’s BlackPeopleMeet.com is the web’s leading online dating destination for Black singles, with more than one million unique visitors each month.

“It’s not surprising to us that Americans ranked a sense of humor and a similar cultural background as most important when choosing a relationship partner,” said Josh Meyers, CEO of People Media. “The growth of targeted online dating sites like ours is due to the success people have when they are able to find others who share their perspective and values.”

Dissecting the Data

The survey results were consistent with regard to the gender, marital status, education and employment status of the respondents. There were, however, some exceptions:

  • The results were somewhat different when considered by race: 49% of white respondents selected “sense of humor” as their top choice (compared with 31% of non-whites) while 31% of whites, compared with 27% of non-whites, chose “similar cultural background.” “Appearance” was the most important factor for 17% of non-whites, compared with 9% of whites; 13% of non-whites chose “financial state” vs. 5% of whites; and 13% of non-whites selected “educational level,” compared with 6% of whites.
  • The results were consistent with regard to age for respondents in the 18-24, 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54 categories. They differed slightly, however, in the 55-64 and 65-plus categories. Fully 47% of those 65 and older chose “similar cultural background” as their No. 1 choice, followed by “sense of humor (35.5%) and “educational level” (7%). Respondents ages 55-64 selected “sense of humor” and “similar cultural background” as their first and second choices, followed by “financial state” (11%).
  • The results also were consistent by region of the country. Interestingly, however, the highest percentage of those who answered “similar cultural background” reside in the Midwest (37%), followed by the South (31%), West (27%) and Northeast (25%).

The research firm Synovate conducted the study in early August. The survey has a margin of error +/- 3 percent.

Link: Linkedin

About People Media, Inc.

People Media (www.PeopleMedia.com) is the No. 1 provider of targeted online dating communities for attractive singles seeking meaningful relationships. The company operates 27 individual web properties – including www.BlackPeopleMeet.com and www.SeniorPeopleMeet.com – reaching nearly 4 million unique users per month. Its portfolio includes six of the Top 50-ranked personals websites, as reported by comScore Media Metrix – more than any other company. People Media has been a past partner with the Steve Harvey Morning Show and exclusively powers multiple AOL Personals communities. People Media is a rapidly growing innovator in the online personals space, which is expected to reach $1.2 billion in worldwide revenues by 2009 (Jupiter Research). People Media is based in Hollywood, Calif., and is a unit of Match.com, an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI).

About Match.com

Match.com pioneered online personals when it launched on the Web in 1995 and continues to lead this exciting and evolving category after more than a decade. Throughout its 15-year history, Match.com has helped redefine the way people meet and fall in love. Match.com provides a rich tapestry of ethnicities, interests, goals, ambitions, quirks, looks and personalities from which to choose. Match.com operates some of the leading subscription-based online dating sites in 25 countries, in 8 languages and spanning five continents, as well as oversees its ongoing investment in Meetic. Match.com also powers online dating on MSN across Asia, Australia, the United States and Latin America. Match.com is an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ:IACI).

Contacts

Edge Communications, Inc.
Ken Greenberg
(818) 990-5001
ken@edgecommunicationsinc.com

Release Summary

In the Face of Rising Intermarriage Numbers, Humor and Similar Cultural Background Remain Key To American Relationships, People Media Study Finds

Contacts

Edge Communications, Inc.
Ken Greenberg
(818) 990-5001
ken@edgecommunicationsinc.com