Pew Reveals Latest Study Results on Online Dating and Relationships

Last week, Pew Research Center rolled out the results of its latest online dating study, entitled Online Dating and Relationship. This study follows up a 2005 study Pew did on the internet’s impact on dating and relationships.

Although we’ve discussed several different studies and info graphics on online dating, many of those – while interesting – are somewhat biased due to their sampling methods. For example, OkCupid or Match can do a study based on their user data, but such a sample is a sample of convenience and does not necessarily represent the average American (or the average online dater). As such, their results are interesting but not necessarily up to scientific snuff. Pew’s sampling methods (based on a cross section of Americans) are a bit more rigorous, so their numbers are worth paying attention to. Here are some stats from Pew’s study:

ONLINE DATING USAGE

  • 11% of American adults—and 38% of those who are currently “single and looking” for a partner—have used online dating sites or mobile dating apps
  • 22% of 25-34 year olds and 17% of 35-44 year olds are online daters.
  • 66% of online daters have gone on a date with someone they met through a dating site or app (vs. 43% in 2005), and 23% of online daters say they met a spouse or long term relationship through these sites (17% in 2005).

WIDENING ACCEPTANCE OF ONLINE DATING

  • 59% of all internet users agree with the statement that “online dating is a good way to meet people,” a 15-point increase from the 44% who said so in 2005.
  • 53% of internet users agree with the statement that “online dating allows people to find a better match for themselves because they can get to know a lot more people,” a 6-point increase from the 47% who said so in 2005.
  • 21% of internet users agree with the statement that “people who use online dating sites are desperate,” compared to 29% in 2005.

ONLINE DATING DOWNSIDES

  • 32% of internet users agree with the statement that “online dating keeps people from settling down because they always have options for people to date.”
  • 54% of online daters have felt that someone else seriously misrepresented themselves in their profile.
  • 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. Such reports were more common in women (42%) than men (17%).

NEED HELP WITH YOUR ONLINE DATING PROFILE?

  • 22% of online daters have asked someone to help them create or review their profile. Women are twice as likely as men to ask for assistance creating or perfecting their profile.
  • Side note: I’ve gotten roughly equal numbers of men and women seeking out my online dating profile makeover.

IMPACT ON DATING AND RELATIONSHIPS

  • 24% of internet users have searched for information online about someone they dated in the past, up from 11% in 2005.
  • 29% of internet users with recent dating experience have gone online to search for information about someone they were currently dating or about to meet for a first date.
  • 31% of all social networking site users have gone on these sites to check up on someone they used to date or be in a relationship with. As you can see from the graph below, these results depend on age.
  • 27% of all social networking site users have unfriended or blocked someone who was flirting in a way that made them feel uncomfortable, and 22% have unfriended or blocked someone that they were once in a relationship with.

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