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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.Although the proportion of Americans who say that they personally use online dating has not changed dramatically since 2005, familiarity with online dating through others (i.e., knowing someone who uses online dating, or knowing someone who has entered into a relationship via online dating) has increased significantly over that time.One in every ten American adults has used an online dating site or a mobile dating app.We refer to these individuals throughout this report as “online daters,” and we define them in the following way: Taken together, 11% of all American adults have used either an online dating site or a mobile dating app and are classified as “online daters.” The questions we have used to measure online dating have evolved over the years, and as a result we cannot directly compare the size of the total online dating population to some of our earlier surveys on the subject.Some are currently in long-standing relationships that predate the adoption of online dating, while others are single but not actively looking for a romantic partner.If we examine only those Americans who are most inclined to online dating—that is, the 7% of the public that is both single and actively looking for a partner—some 38% of these individuals have used online dating sites or dating apps.As we found in our previous research on this subject, Americans’ attitudes towards online dating are relatively nuanced.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.
This does not include users of mobile dating apps, which will be discussed in the next section of the report.In terms of demographics, online dating is most common among Americans in their mid-20’s through mid-40’s.Some 22% of 25-34 year olds, and 17% of 35-44 year olds are online daters—that is roughly double the rate for those ages 18-24 or those ages 45-54.Nonetheless, attitudes towards online dating have progressed in a clearly positive direction in the eight years since our previous study: Additionally, one-third of internet users (32%) 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, and therefore we cannot determine how it has changed over time (if at all).
Perhaps unsurprisingly, people who have used online dating themselves have positive views about the process compared with the overall population.
Although online dating sites are relatively common among a range of age cohorts, mobile dating apps are primarily popular with Americans in their mid-20s through mid-30s.