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Digital technology and smartphones in particular have transformed many aspects of our society, including how people seek out and establish romantic relationships. Online dating has lost much of its stigma, and a majority of Americans now say online dating is a good way to meet people. When we first studied online dating habits in 2005, most Americans had little exposure to online dating or to the people who used it, and they tended to view it as a subpar way of meeting people. Online dating has jumped among adults under age 25 as well as those in their late 50s and early 60s. Online dating use among 55- to 64-year-olds has also risen substantially since the last Pew Research Center survey on the topic. One factor behind the substantial growth among younger adults is their use of mobile dating apps.
One-third of people who have used online dating have never actually gone on a date with someone they met on these sites. If you haven’t found quite what you’re looking for on an online dating site, you aren’t alone. But it still means that one-third of online daters have not yet met up in real life with someone they initially found on an online dating site. One-in-five online daters have asked someone else to help them with their profile.
Many online daters enlist their friends in an effort to put their best digital foot forward. Americans who are in a marriage or committed relationship say they met their significant other online. Despite the wealth of digital tools that allow people to search for potential partners, and even as one-in-ten Americans are now using one of the many online dating platforms, the vast majority of relationships still begin offline. Online Dating: What’s Your View?