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.
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.
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.
This question was asked of everyone in a marriage or other long-term partnership, including many whose relationships were initiated well before meeting online was an option.
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.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.And while younger adults are also more likely than their elders to look up past flames online, this behavior is still relatively common among older cohorts.Yet even some online daters view the process itself and the individuals they encounter on these sites somewhat negatively.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.Younger adults are also more likely than older ones to say that their relationship began online.Some 8% of 18-29 year olds in a marriage or committed relationship met their partner online, compared with 7% of 30-49 year olds, 3% of 50-64 year olds, and just 1% of those 65 and older.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.Additionally, 22% of online daters have asked someone to help them create or review their profile.Women are around twice as likely as men to ask for assistance creating or perfecting their profile—30% of female online daters have done this, compared with 16% of men.