By Aaron Smith and Maeve Duggan. One in every ten American adults has used an online dating site or a mobile dating app.
Urban and suburban residents are more likely than rural residents to use online dating, and those who have attended college are around twice as likely to do so as are those who have not attended college. Of course, only a portion of the population is in the market for a relationship at any given time. Some are currently in long-standing relationships that predate the adoption of online dating, while others are single but not actively looking for a romantic partner.
This does not include users of mobile dating apps, which will be discussed in the next section of the report.
The college-educated and those in their mid-twenties through mid-forties are especially likely to use online dating sites. As we did in our previous study, we presented online dating site users with an open-ended follow-up question asking which particular dating site s they have used.
The online dating marketplace has undergone dramatic changes since we conducted our first study on this subject in In particular, many services now offer cell phone apps that allow users to update their profile, search the profiles of others, and find potential dates in their area using their mobile phone. Although online dating sites are relatively common among a range of age cohorts, mobile dating apps are primarily popular with Americans in their mids through mids.
Older adults use online dating sites in at least modest numbers, but dating app usage is effectively non-existent for people in their mid-forties and beyond. The median ages for online dating site users and dating app users are illustrative in highlighting the age differences between each group. The typical median online dating site user is 38 years old, while the typical median dating app user is 29 years old—nearly a decade younger.
Although the proportion of Americans who say that they personally use online dating has not changed dramatically since , familiarity with online dating through others i.
Overall, college graduates and those with relatively high household incomes are especially likely to know someone who uses online dating sites or apps. However, every major demographic group is now significantly more likely to respond in the affirmative to this question than was the case when we first asked it in Similarly, college graduates and the relatively affluent are especially likely to say that they know someone who has met a spouse or long-term partner via online dating—and once again, nearly every major demographic group is more likely to know someone who has done this compared with eight years ago.
Although a majority of Americans agree with two positive statements about online dating, a sizeable minority agree with two statements casting online dating or the people who use online dating in a more negative light. Nonetheless, attitudes towards online dating have progressed in a clearly positive direction in the eight years since our previous study:.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, people who have used online dating themselves have positive views about the process compared with the overall population. Yet even some online daters seem to find both the process itself—and the individuals they encounter on these sites—distasteful. Each of these is discussed in greater detail in the section that follows.
The relatively small number of online daters in our survey makes it impossible to conduct a detailed demographic analysis of these questions. However, our sample size is sufficient to compare men and women, and any statistically significant gender differences are noted where appropriate.
Two-thirds of online daters have gone on a date through these sites, and one quarter have used them to find a marriage or long-term relationship. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research.
Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Fact Tank - Our Lives in Numbers.
Here are five facts about online dating: This post was originally published on April 20, , and has been updated. Online Dating Share this link:. Recent Posts Black Muslims account for a fifth of all U. Muslims, and about half are converts to Islam Defining generations: Where Millennials end and Generation Z begins How Americans see illegal immigration, the border wall and political compromise Border apprehensions increased in — especially for migrant families Democratic and Republican House members on average represent similar numbers of federal workers.
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