Imbalances between the number of available women and the number of men desiring partners created a demand for immigrant women.
As a result of this imbalance, a new system of "picture brides" developed in predominantly male settlements.
This network of smaller international marriage agencies is often affiliated with web-based international dating sites that are able to market their services on a larger scale, in compliance with regulations such as the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act.
Experian, a market research firm, reports that the top 10 international dating sites attracted 12 million visitors in March 2013, up 29% from March 2012.
In the early 20th century, the institution of "picture brides" developed due to immigration restrictions.
The Japanese-American Passport Agreement of 1907 allowed Japan to grant passports to the wives of immigrants to America.
In the twentieth century, the trend was towards women living in developing countries seeking men in more developed nations.
Key variables determining the relationship between migration and marriage were demographics, legal policies, cultural perceptions and technology.
One of the biggest international dating sites, based on the market share, is Anastasia Date.
International marriage agencies are frequently referred to as "mail-order bride" agencies.
Those who marry foreign men tend to be better-educated than most women from their country or their husbands.
However, economic factors are not the only driving factor for women in Asia to enter the mail-order industry.