Accessibility links

Breaking News

Online Dating Popularity Surges Among Americans

The dating app Tinder is shown on an Apple iPhone in this photo illustration taken February 10, 2016. Just in time for Valentine's Day, a survey shows that more Americans are looking for love through online dating, with more than four times as many young adults using mobile apps than in 2013.

Fifteen percent of Americans participate in online dating, according to a new poll.

The Pew Research Poll, released Thursday, found a four percentage point increase from a similar poll conducted in 2013.

The poll found that 27 percent of Americans age 18 to 24 used online dating sites and apps, up from 10 percent in 2013. For Americans age 55 to 64, 12 percent used some kind of online dating tool. That was double the number in 2013.

But the young and older crowds prefer different tools, the poll found, with younger folks preferring so-called swiping apps like Tinder while older daters preferred web-based sites like Match or eHarmony.

The growth "speaks to the growing cultural acceptance of online dating," Pew researcher Aaron Smith told AFP.

"Five years ago, many of these people who have viewed online dating as weird or desperate,” he added. “But now a lot of people know someone who has met someone online."

Potential dangers

The poll found that most users of online dating tools had a positive experience although some did recognize potential dangers.

Some 80 percent of those who tried online dating said it was a good way to meet people, with 62 percent saying online dating was a good way to meet people because of the larger dating pool it opens.

On the negative side, 45 percent of those surveyed said online dating was more dangerous than more traditional dating, and 31 percent said that online dating tools might prevent people from settling down because of the numerous potential partners the tools offer up.

Women were more likely to think of the potential dangers of online dating with 53 percent saying it was more dangerous than traditional dating. Only 38 percent of males felt the same way.

One reason for the increase was that the stigma of online dating has diminished considerably.

The poll found that 41 percent of those surveyed know someone who dates online and 29 percent said they knew someone who found a serious relationship online.

For the poll, Pew surveyed 2,001 American adults between June and July of 2015. Pew said the margin of error in the poll was 2.5 percent.