A study from the University of California at Berkeley suggests online dating sites are somewhat segregated.

The study's authors gathered data from one million profiles of singles looking for love online. According to the results, whites overwhelmingly prefer to date members of their own race. Meanwhile, blacks especially men, are far more likely to cross the race barrier while looking for a partner. The researchers analyzed the racial preferences and online activity of people from the United States between 2009 and 2010 to a major Internet dating service.

Those who said they were indifferent to the race of a partner were most likely to be young, male and black, stated Gerald Mendelsohn, a UC Berkeley psychologist, professor of graduate studies and lead author of the study, which will soon be submitted for publication.

The researchers looked at preferences of people and whether they had a racial choice or not. They then compared those results to whom they actually contacted for a date, and they found profound differences between blacks and whites.

Whites more than blacks, women more than men and old more than young participants stated a preference for a partner of the same race, Mendelsohn said.

The survey found whites who even said they were willing to date across racial lines still did not date too many blacks the study found. According to the research, more than 80 percent of the whites contacted whites and fewer than 5 percent of them contacted blacks.

Overall, the study's authors estimated 20 percent of Americans have used an online dating service such as eHarmony or Match.com. A growing number of urbanites are finding romance via Facebook and other social networking sites, it added.

As the use of online dating services grows, people whose paths never would have crossed offline now regularly meet and have meaningful exchanges in the virtual world,  the UC Berkeley study said.

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