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Lesbian, gay or bisexual adults are about twice as likely to say they have ever used a dating website or app. (Fat Camera via Getty Images)
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In the more than twenty years since the inception of commercial dating sites such as Match.com, online dating has grown into a multibillion dollar industry serving consumers around the world. A new Pew Research Center study 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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Here are 10 facts from the study, based on an October 2019 survey of 4,860 US adults:
1 Three in ten US adults say they have used a dating site or app, but this varies by age and sexual orientation. While 48% of 18-29-year-olds say they have ever used a website or app, that compares to 38% of 30- to 49-year-olds and even less (16%) for those 50 and older. Also, personal experience with online dating is very different from sexual orientation. Lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) adults are about twice as likely as straight people to say they have ever used a dating platform (55% vs. 28%).
2 A small percentage of Americans say they have been in a committed relationship or married someone they met through a website or app. About one in ten US adults say this (12%), although this share is even higher among LGB adults, ages 18 to 49.
The Pew Research Center has long studied the changing nature of romantic relationships and the role of digital technology in how people meet potential partners and navigate web-based dating platforms. This special report focuses on the styles, experiences, and attitudes associated with being online in America. The results are based on a survey conducted from October 16 to 28, 2019, among 4,860 US adults. They included people who participated as members of the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel conducted with a random sample of household addresses, as well as responses from the Ipsos KnowledgePanel that showed they were Friday. , gay or bisexual (LGB). The margin of sampling error for the total sample is plus or minus 2.1 percent.
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Engaging ATP panelists by phone or mail ensures that nearly all US adults have a chance to vote. This provides assurance that any given sample is representative of the entire adult population of the United States (see Method 101 description of random sampling). To further ensure that each ATP survey represents a balanced cross-section of the nation, the data is weighted to match the US adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories.
For more, see the reporting methodology on the project. You can also find the questions asked, and the answers given by the public, in this bar above.
3 Nearly six in ten online shoppers (57%) said they had an overall positive experience with the platform, including 14% who described the experience as very positive and 43% who said it was somewhat positive. Fewer users – though still about four-in-ten – rate the Free Online experience as at least somewhat negative, with 9% rating it as very negative.
People’s evaluation of their online dating experience varies based on socio-economic factors. About six-in-ten online shoppers with a bachelor’s or advanced degree (63%) said the experience was very or somewhat positive, compared to 47% among those with a high school diploma or less. Online reviews indicate that the overall experience does not differ statistically by gender or race and ethnicity.
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4 While online respondents generally say that the overall experience is positive, they also share some of the downsides of being online. By a wide margin, Americans who have used a dating site or app in the past year say their recent experiences have left them more disappointed (45%) than expected (28%).
Other emotions are more balanced between positive and negative emotions. About 35% of current or new users said that in the past year, online dating made them more pessimistic, while 29% said the platform made them more optimistic. Additionally, 32% said online dating sites or apps made them feel more confident, while 25% said they felt insecure.
5 Most online dating says it’s easier to at least find a compatible potential partner. Many online dating say that on this platform they can find people they are physically attracted to, share hobbies and interests, like people they want to meet in person or they are looking for the same type of relationship as a man. Also, there are some gender differences in how difficult or easy it is for users to say they find a compatible partner.
For example, women who have ever used a dating site or app are more likely than men to say that they find it very or somewhat difficult to find someone they like physically (36% vs. 21%) or that they like other people. want to meet in person (39% to 32%). In contrast, male users are more likely than female users to say that finding people with similar hobbies and interests is the least difficult (41% vs. 30%).
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6 Women are more likely than men to categorize certain information as important to see in other users’ profiles. In online dating, 72% of women say it’s very important to them that the profile they appear on includes the type of relationship the person is looking for, compared to half of men (53%). Women who have online dating are also more likely than men to say that it is very important to them that their profile includes the person’s religious beliefs (32% vs. 18%), occupation (27% vs. 8%) or height. . (22% to 8%).
Other gender differences – such as users’ importance of hobbies and interests, racial or ethnic background or political affiliation – are more modest.
7 There is a strong gender difference in the amount of attention that online users say they get on this website or app. Overall, online chatters are more likely to say they don’t get enough messages than to say they get too many, but user experiences differ by gender.
Almost six in ten men who have met online in the past five years (57%) say they feel they don’t get enough messages, but only 24% of women say the same. Meanwhile, women who currently have an online partner are five times more likely to think they’ve sent too many messages (30% vs. 6%).
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8 Young women are more likely to report difficult conversations on online dating platforms. Nearly three in ten or more online dating users say they’ve been contacted by someone on a website or app after saying they’re not interested (37%), sending unwanted messages or photos. 35%) or offensive names (28%). Almost one in ten (9%) said another user had threatened to harm them.
This rate is even higher among young women. Six in ten female users between the ages of 18 and 34 say people on websites or apps continue to contact them after they say they’re not interested, while 57% report that other users have sent sexually explicit messages or They also sent pictures that they didn’t want. . Also, 44% reported that someone called them abusive names on a website or app, while 19% said someone threatened them with physical harm.
9 Americans have different views about online security. Nearly half of Americans overall (53%) say dating websites and apps are a very safe or somewhat safe way to meet people, while 46% believe they are neither safe nor safe.
The general perception of online security varies according to personal experience. Most Americans who have used a dating site or app (71%) view online dating as a safe or secure way to meet someone, compared to 47% of those who have never used the platform.
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Among the public as a whole, women are much more likely than men to say Free Camp and apps are a safe way to meet people (53% vs. 39%). Opinions on this question also vary by age, educational attainment, and race and ethnicity.
10 More than half of Americans (54%) say relationships that start on a website or app are just as successful as those that start in person. A small percentage of US adults — though it’s still four-tenths — say this type of relationship is less successful than relationships started in men.
Also, half of Americans say online dating has no positive or negative effect on dating or relationships. The smaller shares mean that the platform is generally larger
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