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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.
People in nearly every major demographic group—old and young, men and women, urbanites and rural dwellers—are more likely to know someone who uses online dating (or met a long term partner through online dating) than was the case eight years ago.
And this is especially true for those at the upper end of the socio-economic spectrum: Even as online daters have largely positive opinions of the process, many have had negative experiences using online dating.
Half (54%) of online daters have felt that someone else seriously misrepresented themselves in their profile.
And more seriously, 28% of online daters have been contacted by someone through an online dating site or app in a way that made them feel harassed or uncomfortable.
Compared with when we conducted our first study of dating and relationships in 2005, many more Americans are using online tools to check up on people they used to date, and to flirt with potential (or current) love interests: Young adults are especially likely to flirt online—47% of internet users ages 18-24 have done this before, as have 40% of those ages 25-34.
Around one in ten online daters (13%) agree with the statement that “people who use online dating sites are desperate,” and 29% agree that online dating “keeps people from settling down because they always have options for people to date.” Familiarity with online dating through usage by friends or family members has increased dramatically since our last survey of online dating in 2005.In addition, people who have used online dating are significantly more likely to say that their relationship began online than are those who have never used online dating.Fully 34% of Americans who are in a committed relationship and have used online dating sites or dating apps in the past say that they met their spouse or partner online, compared with 3% for those who have not used online dating sites.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.