One in 10 Americans have used a dating site or app, including 38% of people who currently describe themselves as “single and looking,” according to Pew Research Center’s first survey on online dating since 2005.
Online dating and its newer relative — mobile dating apps — are increasingly a go-to option to meet a romantic partner, according to a Pew Research Center report that finds 11% of American adults have used either.
Among those who have, 66% have gone on a date with someone they met through a dating site or app, and 23% met their spouse or significant other that way.
Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated – describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – has jumped more than six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%.
And the share of Americans who identify with non-Christian faiths also has inched up, rising 1.2 percentage points, from 4.7% in 2007 to 5.9% in 2014.
The majority of online daters, however, were much more upbeat.
79% said they felt dating sites and apps are a good way to meet people and their positive attitudes are probably reinforced by seeing success stories.
The report, out today, is based on a telephone survey of 2,252 adults, age 18 and older, completed in May.
It offers a first glimpse at mobile dating apps, finding that 3% of all adults say they've used such an app on their cellphone.
And unsurprisingly more women than men have concerns about personal safety and online dating, with a majority (53 per cent) of women who have used online dating agree it is more dangerous than other ways of meeting people vs 38 per cent of male online daters who agree with the statement.
(Related: UK crime stats out this month show a six-fold rise in five years of people reporting being raped on a first date by someone they met on a dating app.) And while a majority (62 per cent) of online daters agreed with the statement that it allows people to find a better match because they can get to know a lot more people, and 61 per cent agreed also it’s a more efficient and easier way to meet people than alternatives, a third (31 per cent) agreed with the view that it keeps people from settling down because they always have more options for people to date, and 16 per cent agreed with the statement that ‘people who use online dating sites are desperate’.
Some of the naysayers, however, are the same people logged onto online sites and apps.