Facts on dating websites

These are among the key findings of a national survey of dating and relationships in the digital era, the first dedicated study of this subject by the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project since 2005.

One in every ten American adults has used an online dating site or a mobile dating app.

Online dating is also relatively popular among the college-educated, as well as among urban and suburban residents.

And 38% of Americans who are single and actively looking for a partner have used online dating at one point or another.

We refer to these individuals throughout this report as “online daters,” and we define them in the following way: Taken together, 11% of all American adults have done one or both of these activities and are classified as “online daters.” In terms of demographics, online dating is most common among Americans in their mid-20’s through mid-40’s.

Some 22% of 25-34 year olds and 17% of 35-44 year olds are online daters.

Even today, online dating is not universally seen as a positive activity—a significant minority of the public views online dating skeptically.

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General public attitudes towards online dating have become much more positive in recent years, and social networking sites are now playing a prominent role when it comes to navigating and documenting romantic relationships.Women are much more likely than men to have experienced uncomfortable contact via online dating sites or apps: some 42% of female online daters have experienced this type of contact at one point or another, compared with 17% of men.Paid dating sites, and sites for people who are seeking partners with specific characteristics are popular with relatively large numbers of online daters: Organized outings are much less common, as just 4% of online daters have attended a group outing or other physical event organized by an online dating site.Some 6% of internet users who are in a marriage, partnership, or other committed relationship met their partner online—that is up from 3% of internet users who said this in 2005.On an “all-adults” basis, that means that 5% of all committed relationships in America today began online.

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