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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. Online dating is also relatively popular among the college-educated, as well as among urban and suburban residents. 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: In general, online daters themselves give the experience high marks. Yet even some online daters view the process itself and the individuals they encounter on these sites somewhat negatively. 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: Negative experiences on online dating sites are relatively common Even as online daters have largely positive opinions of the process, many have had negative experiences using online dating. Women are much more likely than men to have experienced uncomfortable contact via online dating sites or apps: One in five online daters have asked someone to help them review their profile. Paid dating sites, and sites for people who are seeking partners with specific characteristics are popular with relatively large numbers of online daters: Even today, the vast majority of Americans who are in a marriage, partnership, or other serious relationship say that they met their partner through offline—rather than online—means.
Focus on dating sites: This does not include users of mobile dating apps, which will be discussed in the next section of the report. The college-educated and those in their mid-twenties through mid-forties are especially likely to use online dating sites. As we did in our previous study, we presented online dating site users with an open-ended follow-up question asking which particular dating site s they have used. In particular, many services now offer cell phone apps that allow users to update their profile, search the profiles of others, and find potential dates in their area using their mobile phone.
Although online dating sites are relatively common among a range of age cohorts, mobile dating apps are primarily popular with Americans in their mids through mids.
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Older adults use online dating sites in at least modest numbers, but dating app usage is effectively non-existent for people in their mid-forties and beyond. The median ages for online dating site users and dating app users are illustrative in highlighting the age differences between each group.
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The typical median online dating site user is 38 years old, while the typical median dating app user is 29 years old—nearly a decade younger. Americans have significantly greater familiarity with online dating through others than was the case in Although the proportion of Americans who say that they personally use online dating has not changed dramatically sincefamiliarity with online dating through others i.
Overall, college graduates and those with relatively high household incomes are especially likely to know someone who uses online dating sites or apps.
However, every major demographic group is now significantly more likely to respond in the affirmative to this question than was the case when we first asked it in Similarly, college graduates and the relatively affluent are especially likely to say that they know someone who has met a spouse or long-term partner via online dating—and once again, nearly every major demographic group is more likely to know someone who has done this compared with eight years ago.
Although a majority of Americans agree with two positive statements about online dating, a sizeable minority agree with two statements casting online dating or the people who use online dating in a more negative light.
Nonetheless, attitudes towards online dating have progressed in a clearly positive direction in the eight years since our previous study: Perhaps unsurprisingly, people who have used online dating themselves have positive views about the process compared with the overall population.