This environment, mind you, is just like the one we see in the offline world.

There’s no obvious pattern by which people who meet online are worse off. For people who have a hard time finding partners in their day-to-day, face-to-face life, the larger subset of potential partners online is a big advantage for them.

That's something not everyone thinks this is a good thing. The worry about online dating comes from theories about how too much choice might be bad for you.

The age of first marriage is now in the late twenties, and more people in their 30s and even 40s are deciding not to settle down.

The rise of phone apps and online dating websites gives people access to more potential partners than they could meet at work or in the neighborhood.

Instead of interacting with the people around her, she chose to search for a companion elsewhere online.

I wondered to myself, is this what online dating has done to us?

In fact, people who meet their partners online are not more likely to break up — they don’t have more transitory relationships.

Once you’re in a relationship with somebody, it doesn’t really matter how you met that other person.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

You have one of the most unique data sets about modern romance. Well, one of the first things you have to know to understand how dating — or really courtship rituals, since not everyone calls it dating — has changed over time is that the age of marriage in the United States has increased dramatically over time.

We see this in consumer goods — if there are too many flavors of jam at the store, for instance, you might feel that it’s just too complicated to consider the jam aisle, you might end up skipping it all together, you might decide it's not worth settling down with one jam. I don’t think that that theory, even if it’s true for something like jam, applies to dating.

I actually don’t see in my data any negative repercussions for people who meet partners online.

For folks who are meeting people everyday—really younger people in their early twenties—online dating is relevant, but it really becomes a powerful force for people in thin dating markets.