Some 42% of Americans now know someone who has used an online dating site or app, up from 31% in 2005.
And twice as many people now know someone who has entered into a marriage or long-term relationship after meeting through an online dating site or app—29% of Americans now know someone who met their partner this way, compared with just 15% in 2005.
Notably, Americans ages 65 and older are now twice as likely to know someone who uses online dating than they were in 2005 (24% of seniors now know an online dater, compared with 13% who did so eight years ago).
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.
Nonetheless, attitudes towards online dating have progressed in a clearly positive direction in the eight years since our previous study: Additionally, one-third of internet users (32%) agree with the statement that “online dating keeps people from settling down because they always have options for people to date.” This is the first time we have asked this question, and therefore we cannot determine how it has changed over time (if at all).
Perhaps unsurprisingly, people who have used online dating themselves have positive views about the process compared with the overall population.
One out of every ten 25-34 year olds (11%) has used a dating app—that is double the rate for those ages 18-24 (5% of whom have used dating apps) and for those ages 35-44 (4%).
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.
If we examine only those Americans who are most inclined to online dating—that is, the 7% of the public that is both single and actively looking for a partner—some 38% of these individuals have used online dating sites or dating apps.
Looking separately at the two distinct elements that make up definition of an online dater, some 11% of internet users say that they have used an online dating site.
This does not include users of mobile dating apps, which will be discussed in the next section of the report.