Seeking assistance in the search for love isn’t new. From professional matchmaking services to blind dates arranged by friends, human have long sought help in finding soulmates. It’s no different in 2016, but these days our efforts are more tech savvy.
According to a survey published by the respected Pew Research Center, 15% of all Americans used online dating sites or mobile apps in 2015. In early 2013, that number was 11%. Broken down, it looks like this:
- 12% of American adults have ever used an online dating site, up slightly from 9% in early 2013.
- 9% of American adults have ever used a dating app on their cellphone. The share of Americans who use dating apps has increased threefold since early 2013 – at that point just 3% of Americans had used these apps.
The Pew Research Center found that online dating’s growth has been especially strong with two groups: the youngest adults (ages 18-24), as well as those in their late 50s and early 60s.
The number of 18- to 24-year-olds who report having used online dating has nearly tripled in the last two years. “Today 27% of these young adults report that they have done so,” says Pew Research Center, “up from just 10% in early 2013. 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 the young adult demographic, the growth goes hand in hand with the explosion of mobile dating apps. Twenty-two percent of 18- to 24-year-olds now report using mobile dating apps, a more than fourfold increase from 2013.
Outside of the 15% of American adults who now use dating sites an apps, 41% say they know someone who uses online dating and 29% know someone who has married or entered into a long-term partnership with someone they met online. College graduates and the relatively affluent are most likely to fall into into those two categories.
Though many have tried online dating, or know someone who has, there are mixed opinions on the experience. “On one hand,” writes Pew, “a majority of online dating users agree that dating digitally has distinct advantages over other ways of meeting romantic partners.” The stats reflect the sentiment:
- 80% of Americans who have used online dating agree that online dating is a good way to meet people.
- 62% agree that online dating allows people to find a better match, because they can get to know a lot more people.
- 61% agree that online dating is easier and more efficient than other ways of meeting people.
But it’s not all pros. A minority of users noted the potential negative consequences of online dating:
- 45% of online dating users agree that online dating is more dangerous than other ways of meeting people.
- 31% agree that online dating keeps people from settling down, because they always have options for people to date.
- 16% agree with the statement “people who use online dating sites are desperate.”