A growing body of evidence shows that human mating preferences, like those of other animal species, can vary geographically. For example, women living in areas with a high cost of living have been shown to seek potential mates that can provide resources (e.g., large salaries). In this study, we present data from a large (N = 2944) nationally representative (United States) sample of Internet dating profiles. The profiles allowed daters' to report their own income and the minimum income they desired in a dating partner, and we analyzed these data at the level of zip code. Our analysis shows that women engage in more resource seeking than men. We also find a positive relationship between cost of living in the dater's zip code and resource seeking among both men and women. Importantly, however, this relationship disappears if one's own income is accounted for in the analysis; that is, individuals of both sexes seek mates with an income similar to their own, regardless of local resource pressures. Our data highlight the importance of considering individual characteristics when measuring the effects of environmental factors on behavior.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology