Tiffanie Turnbull
(Australian Associated Press)

Would you start a family with someone you met online?

Within two decades that will be the norm.

New modelling conducted by Monash University and dating website eharmony predicts that by 2038, more than half of newborns will be ‘e-babies’ – infants born to couples who met online.

And by 2040, more couples will be meeting online than in the real world.

The Future of Dating report, based on a survey of more than 2000 Australians, found online dating is already the most popular way for people to meet.

Almost 30 per cent of respondents said online dating was their preferred method of meeting partners, well ahead of meeting through a mutual friend or meeting at work, at 17 per cent and 16 per cent respectively.

Pubs and clubs also had a severe demotion.

Research suggests that one in five couples met in the pub back in the early 1980s, the Monash team says, but that’s now dropped to just six per cent.

More than two thirds of people agreed online dating had become more normalised and one in two said the internet made it easier for introverts to find love.

Almost half also said it helps them weed out the lemons and find someone compatible.

The researchers say their findings indicate commitment and family-oriented singles are also turning online.

The report found couples who met online since 2014 on average have 2.3 per cent more babies than those who met face-to-face.

“Online dating often gets a bad rap for encouraging casual dating and swipe culture,” eharmony’s Sharon Draper said.

But the report demonstrated there were countless people using technology to find life-long partners and start families, she said.

With internet dating allowing singles to narrow the pool significantly based on compatibility, Ms Draper says the uptick in couples meeting online can only be a good thing.

“That said, if you’re new to online dating and you want to find a serious relationship, think carefully about the type of person you want to attract,” she said.

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