Popular matchmaking algorithm releases annual data

For the third year in a row, Notre Dame participated in the Marriage Pact, a program started several years ago by Stanford University students.

Since its founding, Marriage Pact has spread to 78 college campuses and has had over 300,000 participants. The survey asks for multiple pieces of information, including participants’ majors, personality types, and even sexual habits. An algorithm then compiles the data and couples students whom it believes would be compatible. 

This year, the results were released on November 24. Then, for the second year, the Notre Dame Marriage Pact team released some of their gathered data to participating students on March 29. The data indicated numerous characteristics of a representative sample of the campus body, including political affiliation, identity, and personality traits.

Senior Elizabeth VanKammen, a Marriage Pact team member, was excited by the amount of participation in the process. She told the Rover: “We saw nearly half of the campus fill out the survey, and that was our goal in past years.”

Just like in previous years, students were excited for the opportunity. Sophomore Dezi Rivas said, “Right before I was so, so excited. Not that I actually wanted a romantic connection … I wanted to know what person on campus was like me.” 

Additionally, many were interested in the data that was collected during the process.

The first graphic displays the political breakdown of this year’s participants compared to participants from the spring of 2021. In the spring of 2021, 42% of participants identified themselves as Democrats, but in the fall of 2022, this number was reduced to 32%. Similarly, the percentage of students who identified themselves as socialists decreased from 6.5% to 2.7%.

Conversely, the percentage of participating students identifying as Republicans rose from 15.2% to 27.3%, roughly a 45% increase. The population of students identifying as independent remained largely the same, growing from 29.6% to 31.2%. The number of students identifying as libertarian also remained relatively the same, only rising from 2.6% to 2.7%. This shift in student demographics is also evident in the data released from the spring of 2022. According to the data from that year, 34.8% of students identified themselves as Democrats, and 25.4% of students identified as Republicans.

Several students spoke with the Rover regarding this data. Andrew Ryan, a freshman studying political science, said, “I think this more insightful look at Notre Dame’s demographics is interesting given that Notre Dame typically is considered a largely Catholic conservative university. I think it’s really interesting to see the data challenge the common concession.”

Some students are skeptical about the data, though. Sophomore Sierra Weaver said, “I think if you actually look at people’s values and align them that way, there would be far more conservatives on campus.”

The data shows more than political affiliation, though. Respondents were also able to dive deeper into the broader identities of the student body. The percentage of students who identify as LGBTQ has also increased; however, this change is less significant. In 2022, 89.5% of women identified themselves as heterosexual, but this number dropped to 88.9%. Similarly, the percentage of men who identify as heterosexual dropped from 93.8% to 92.9%.

The data also reveals which majors self-reported themselves as the smartest students on campus. This year physics ranked first, followed by mathematics and then the Program of Liberal Studies. Last year, it ranked Program of Liberal Studies, Computer Engineering, and Physics. 

The report also revealed answers to “How long do you think it’s appropriate to wait before sex,” broken down by religious affiliation. 15% of Catholics on campus answered that it is appropriate to wait until marriage as opposed to 19% of Protestants and 0.1% of atheists and agnostics.

Sophomore Margaret Mathis remarked, “I am surprised that only 15% of Catholics reported that they plan to wait until marriage. I think that this data should be considered in religious education on campus, because this reveals a serious lack in education and formation about Church teaching, and enforcement of the du Lac Student Code of Conduct.”

The Notre Dame Marriage Pact will likely return next fall via email, and with it will come a new batch of statistcs onthe general trends of the Notre Dame student body.

Stephen DeCarlo is a sophomore English and Arabic major with minors in philosophy, politics, and economics as well as education, schooling, and society. He currently works as a TutorND tutor and hopes to one day teach for A.C.E. Contact him at sdecarlo@nd.edu.

Photo Credit: Stephen DeCarlo

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