This survey of dating and relationships in the digital era has been the first dedicated study of this subject by the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project since 2005. Its key findings include: One in ten Americans have used an online dating site or mobile dating app themselves, and many people now know someone else 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.
Attitudes towards online dating are becoming more positive over time
Even today, online dating is not universally seen as a positive activity—a significant minority of the public views online dating skeptically. At the same time, public attitudes towards online dating have grown more positive in the last eight years:
- 59% of all internet users agree with the statement that “online dating is a good way to meet people,” a 15-point increase from the 44% who said so in 2005.
- 53% of internet users agree with the statement that “online dating allows people to find a better match for themselves because they can get to know a lot more people,” a 6-point increase from the 47% who said so in 2005.
- 21% of internet users agree with the statement that “people who use online dating sites are desperate,” an 8-point decline from the 29% who said so in 2005.
Additionally, 32% of internet users 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.
42% of all Americans know an online dater, and 29% know someone who has used online dating to find a spouse or other long-term relationship
Familiarity with online dating through usage by friends or family members has increased dramatically since our last survey of online dating in 2005. Some 42% of Americans know someone who has used online dating, up from 31% in 2005. And 29% of Americans now know someone who met a spouse or other long-term partner through online dating, up from just 15% in 2005.