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Lesbian, gay, or bisexual adults are twice as likely as non-lesbians to say they have used a dating website or app. (FatCamera via Getty Images)
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In the more than two decades since commercial dating sites like Match.com began, online dating has grown into a billion-dollar industry serving consumers around the world. A new study from the Pew Research Center examines how dating sites and apps have changed the way Americans meet and develop relationships, and how users of these services feel about online dating.
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1 Three in ten American adults say they have used a dating website or app, but this varies widely by age and sexual orientation. While 48% of 18- to 29-year-olds say they’ve used a dating site or app, 38% of 30- to 49-year-olds say they’ve used a dating site or app, and even lower for those 50 and under. up (16%). At the same time, the personal experience of dating on the Internet is not the same as the sexual orientation. Lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) adults are twice as likely as non-lesbians to say they have used a dating site (55% vs. 28%).
2 A small percentage of Americans say they have dated or married someone they met through a website or app. About one in ten American adults say so (12%), although these proportions are higher among LGB adults as well as those aged 18 to 49.
The Pew Research Center has long studied the changing nature of romantic relationships and the role of digital technology in the way people meet potential partners and navigate online dating sites. This special report focuses on patterns, experiences and attitudes related to online dating in America. These findings are based on a survey conducted from October 16 to 28, 2019, among 4,860 American adults. This includes those who participated as members of the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel recruited through a sample of residential addresses, and also respondents from the Ipsos Knowledge Panel who identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). The margin of sampling error for the full sample is plus or minus 2.1 percent.
Recruiting members of the ATP panel by phone or email ensures that almost every adult in the United States has the opportunity to be selected. This gives us confidence that each sample can represent the entire population of American adults (see Method 101 for an explanation of random sampling). To further ensure that each ATP survey represents a balanced cross-section of the country, the data is weighted to match the population of US adults by gender, race, ethnicity , organizations, education and other categories.
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For more information, see the project reporting methodology. You can also find the questions asked and the answers given by the public in this main issue.
3 About six-in-ten internet users (57%) say they have had an overall positive experience with these platforms, including 14% who describe their experience as very positive. and 43% who say it is somewhat positive. Fewer users – even around four in ten – describe their online dating experience as at least somewhat negative, including 9% who describe it as very negative.
People’s ratings of their online dating experience vary widely based on social factors. About six-in-ten Internet users with a bachelor’s degree or higher (63%) say their experience is very good or somewhat good, compared to 47% of those with a college degree. or less. Online donors’ ratings of their overall experience did not differ statistically by gender, race, or ethnicity.
4 Although online dating generally says that their experiences are generally positive, they also point to some negative aspects of online dating. By a wide margin, Americans who used a dating site or app in the past year said their recent experiences left them more disappointed (45%) than hopeful (28%).
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Other feelings are more balanced between positive and negative emotions. About 35% of current or recent users say that in the past year, online dating has made them feel more pessimistic, while 29% say that the sites these made them feel more optimistic. Similarly, 32% said online dating sites or apps made them feel more confident, while 25% said they made them feel more insecure.
5 Most online dating partners say it’s easy to find a compatible partner. Many online surfers say that they can find people on these sites who are physically attractive to them, share their hobbies and interests, like people they want to meet in person, or are looking for a variety. peer relationship. At the same time, there are gender differences in how difficult or easy it is for employers to find a suitable partner.
For example, women who have used a dating website or app are more likely than men to say they have had a very difficult or somewhat difficult time finding someone they like physically (36% vs. 21%). or who loves someone. they want to meet in person (39% vs. 32%). In contrast, male users are more likely than female users to say that it is at least somewhat difficult to find people with similar hobbies and interests (41% vs. 30%).
6 Women are more likely than men to rate certain information as important to view in other users’ profiles. Among online surfers, 72% of women said it was very important to them that the profile they viewed included the type of relationship the person was looking for, compared to half of men (53%). Women who have met online are also more likely than men to say that it is important to them that their profile includes the person’s religion (32% vs. 18%), occupation (27% vs. 8%) or height. (22% vs. 8%).
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Other gender differences—such as customer interests, including hobbies and interests, racial or ethnic origin, or political affiliation —is more modest.
7 There are significant gender differences in the amount of attention Internet users report receiving from these sites or applications. In general, online dating is more likely to say they don’t get enough messages than to say they get too many, but the user experience varies by gender.
About six in ten men who have dated online in the past five years (57%) say they don’t get enough messages, compared to only 24% of women who say the same . At the same time, women who dated online during this period were five times more likely than men to think they had been texted more than once (30% vs. 6%).
8 Younger women are most likely to report unpleasant interactions on Internet dating sites. Three in ten or more online dating users say they’ve had someone continue to contact them on a website or app after they said they weren’t interested (37%), sent them sexually explicit messages or photos those, which he did not do. wanted (35%) or called them offensive names (28%). About one in ten (9%) say another user has threatened to harm them.
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These rates are even higher among younger women. Six in ten female users aged 18 to 34 say someone on a dating website or app has continued to contact them after they say they’re not interested, while 57% report they have another user has sent them sexually explicit messages or images. no need. Meanwhile, 44% report that someone has called them an offensive name on a dating website or app, while 19% say that someone has threatened to harm them.
9 Americans have mixed views about the safety of online dating. About half of Americans overall (53%) say dating sites and apps are a very or very safe way to meet people, while 46% think they are not very or very safe. at all.
Public opinion about the safety of online dating varies based on personal experience. Most Americans who have used a dating site or app (71%) see online dating as a real or safer way to meet someone, compared to 47% of those who have never used the sites those.
Among the general public, women are more likely than men to say that dating websites and apps are not a safe way to meet people (53% vs. 39%). Opinions on this issue also vary greatly by age, education, race, and ethnicity.
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10 More than half of Americans (54%) say that a relationship that starts on a website or app is just as effective as starting in person. A smaller share of American adults – even about four in 10 – say that these types of relationships are less successful than relationships that start in person.
At the same time, half of Americans say that online dating has neither a positive nor a negative effect on dating and relationships. A smaller proportion say that these sectors have a positive (22%) or negative impact (26%).
About the Pew Research Center The Pew Research Center is an unbiased repository of facts that inform
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