The Japanese-American Passport Agreement of 1907 allowed Japan to grant passports to the wives of immigrants to America.As immigration of unmarried Japanese women to America was effectively barred, the use of "picture brides" provided a mechanism for willing women to obtain a passport to America, while Japanese workers in America could gain a female helpmate of their own nationality.However, many consider the term "mail-order bride" derogatory and feel it demeans foreign women by comparing them to commodities for sale and by falsely implying that (unlike local women), they exercise no judgment over the men they meet and would marry anyone from a relatively wealthy country.There are at least two historical roots of the mail-order bride industry that emerged in the 1800s in the American frontier: Asian workers in the frontier regions (although Asian workers were scattered throughout the world), and American men who had headed west across the United States to work out on the frontier.With 4,138,273 more women than men from the ages of 15 to 64, marriage opportunities are slim at home and worsened by the life expectancy difference between men (64.3 years) and women (73.17 years), as well as the fact that a large portion of successful males are emigrating out of Russia.
Filipina women often entered the mail-order industry in the hope of marrying abroad, and then sponsoring their family for immigration.
In the twentieth century, the trend was towards women living in developing countries seeking men in more developed nations.
In the twenty-first century, the trend is now based primarily on internet-based meeting places which do not per se qualify as mail-order bride services.
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.