Throughout human history, people have sought assistance from others in meeting romantic partners – and Americans today are increasingly looking for love online by enlisting the services of online dating sites and a new generation of mobile dating apps.
A national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 10-July 12, 2015, among 2,001 adults, finds that: This growth has been especially pronounced for two groups who have historically not used online dating at particularly high levels – the youngest adults, as well as those in their late 50s and early 60s.
Meanwhile, the share of 55- to 64-year-olds who use online dating has doubled over the same time period (from 6% in 2013 to 12% in 2015).
For young adults in particular, this overall increase in online dating usage has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in the use of mobile dating apps.
Fully 22% of 18- to 24-year-olds now report using mobile dating apps, a more than fourfold increase from the 5% who reported using dating apps in 2013.
These young adults are now more likely than any other age group to use mobile dating apps.
By comparison, just 25% of those with a high school diploma or less know someone who uses online dating – and just 18% know someone who has entered into a long-term relationship with someone they met this way.
Users of online dating are generally positive – but far from universally so – about the pros and cons of dating digitally.
On one hand, a majority of online dating users agree that dating digitally has distinct advantages over other ways of meeting romantic partners: But despite these reservations, those who have personally used online dating themselves – or know someone who does – tend to have much more positive attitudes compared to those with little direct exposure to online dating or online daters.
Although 15% of Americans have used online dating themselves, a larger share report that they are familiar with online dating from the experiences of people they know.
Some 41% of American adults say they know someone who uses online dating, while 29% indicate they know someone who has married or entered into a long-term partnership with someone they met via online dating.
As was the case in previous Pew Research Center surveys of online dating, college graduates and the relatively affluent are especially likely to know people who use online dating or to know people who have entered into a relationship that began online.
Nearly six-in-ten college graduates (58%) know someone who uses online dating, and nearly half (46%) know someone who has entered into a marriage or long-term partnership with someone they met via online dating.