Jean Chatzky: When we look at the world today and the world of dating, how bad is it for women?

Jon Birger: Well, it’s really bad for college-educated women if they want to marry a college-educated man. It’s essentially 4 women for every 3 men among millennials. Among older singles in their 30s and 40s it’s probably closer to 5 women for every 3 men.

Jean: All right, so how has the online world been affected by these skewed ratios?

Jon: I don’t think online dating has had as big an effect as others think. I know there was that Vanity Fair story that blamed the hookup culture on Tinder. Well, Tinder, I think, is barely 4 years old and the hookup culture certainly existed before Tinder. I will say, though, that I do think online dating exacerbates this phenomenon of college grads only dating other college grads because online dating is kind of like picking options on a car.

Jean: Essentially, what you’re describing is a supply-and-demand problem.

Jon: It’s both a supply-and-demand problem and a behavioral issue. When women are in over-supply, so to speak, men are more likely to play the field. The whole dating culture becomes more sexualized, marriage rates decline, divorce rates go up. It’s both economics and psychology.

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