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Digital technology and smartphones in particular have transformed many aspects of our society, including how people seek out and establish romantic relationships.
When we first studied online dating habits in 2005, most Americans had little exposure to online dating or to the people who used it, and they tended to view it as a subpar way of meeting people.Today, nearly half of the public knows someone who uses online dating or who has met a spouse or partner via online dating – and attitudes toward online dating have grown progressively more positive.To be sure, many people remain puzzled that someone would want to find a romantic partner online – 23% of Americans agree with the statement that “people who use online dating sites are desperate” – but in general it is much more culturally acceptable than it was a decade ago.Online dating has jumped among adults under age 25 as well as those in their late 50s and early 60s.The share of 18- to 24-year-olds who use online dating has roughly tripled from 10% in 2013 to 27% today.Online dating use among 55- to 64-year-olds has also risen substantially since the last Pew Research Center survey on the topic.
Today, 12% of 55- to 64-year-olds report ever using an online dating site or mobile dating app versus only 6% in 2013.One factor behind the substantial growth among younger adults is their use of mobile dating apps.About one-in-five 18- to 24-year olds (22%) now report using mobile dating apps; in 2013, only 5% reported doing so.One-third of people who have used online dating have never actually gone on a date with someone they met on these sites.If you haven’t found quite what you’re looking for on an online dating site, you aren’t alone.Two thirds of online daters—66%—tell us that they have gone on a date with someone they met through a dating site or dating app.