The FINANCIAL -- One in ten Americans have used an
online dating site or mobile dating app themselves, and many people now
know someone who uses online dating or who has found a spouse or
long-term partner via online dating.
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, according to the research provided by the Pew Research Center.
11% of internet users (representing 9% of all American adults) say that they have personally used an online dating site. As recently as 2008, just 3% of American adults had used online dating sites. 7% of cell phone apps users (representing 3% of all American adults) say that they have used a dating app on their cell phone.
Taken together, 11% of all American adults are “online daters”—meaning they have used a dating site or mobile dating app. Online dating is especially common among the college-educated and those in their mid-20’s through mid-40’s, and 38% of Americans who are currently single and actively looking for a partner have used online dating at one point or another, the research says.
Although one in ten Americans has used online dating themselves, many more know a friend or family member who uses it—and this “second hand” exposure has increased dramatically in recent years. Online dating is not universally seen by the public as a beneficial activity—indeed, a significant minority of Americans views online dating skeptically.
Online daters themselves give the process good marks: 79% of online daters agree that online dating is a good way to meet people, and 70% of them agree that it helps people find a better romantic match because they have access to a wide range of potential partners. At the same time, many users have had negative experiences with online dating, according to Pew Research Center.
“When we conducted our first study of dating and relationships in the digital era just under a decade ago, the public had little exposure to online dating, and most viewed people who went online to meet potential romantic partners with a healthy dose of skepticism,” said Aaron Smith, a Senior Researcher at the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and main author of the report. “And although some of that skepticism remains, online dating has become much more culturally accepted in recent years. Americans are now much more likely to count an online dater among their friends and family, and a majority view online dating as a good way to meet potential partners—one that in some ways is superior to traditional ways of meeting people,” he added.