To further ensure that each ATP survey reflects a balanced cross-section of the nation, the data are weighted to match the U. You can also find the questions asked, and the answers the public provided in this topline. From personal ads that began appearing in publications around the s to videocassette dating services that sprang up decades ago, the platforms people use to seek out romantic partners have evolved throughout history.
This evolution has continued with the rise of online dating sites and mobile apps. Today, three-in-ten U. Previous Pew Research Center studies about online dating indicate that the share of Americans who have used these platforms — as well as the share who have found a spouse or partner through them — has risen over time. Americans who have used online dating offer a mixed look at their time on these platforms.
On a broad level, online dating users are more likely to describe their overall experience using these platforms in positive rather than negative terms. Additionally, majorities of online daters say it was at least somewhat easy for them to find others that they found physically attractive, shared common interests with, or who seemed like someone they would want to meet in person. But users also share some of the downsides to online dating. Roughly seven-in-ten online daters believe it is very common for those who use these platforms to lie to try to appear more desirable.
Other incidents highlight how dating sites or apps can become a venue for bothersome or harassing behavior — especially for women under the age of Online dating has not only disrupted more traditional ways of meeting romantic partners, its rise also comes at a time when norms and behaviors around marriage and cohabitation also are changing as more people delay marriage or choose to remain single. These shifting realities have sparked a broader debate about the impact of online dating on romantic relationships in America.
Others offer a less flattering narrative about online dating — ranging from concerns about scams or harassment to the belief that these platforms facilitate superficial relationships rather than meaningful ones. This survey finds that the public is somewhat ambivalent about the overall impact of online dating. The following are among the major findings. Experience with online dating varies substantially by age. Beyond age, there also are striking differences by sexual orientation. There are only modest differences between men and women in their use of dating sites or apps, while white, black or Hispanic adults all are equally likely to say they have ever used these platforms.
At the same time, a small share of U. This too follows a pattern similar to that seen in overall use, with adults under the age of 50, those who are LGB or who have higher levels of educational attainment more likely to report finding a spouse or committed partner through these platforms.
Online dating users are more likely to describe their overall experience with using dating sites or apps in positive, rather than negative, terms. For the most part, different demographic groups tend to view their online dating experiences similarly. But there are some notable exceptions. While majorities across various demographic groups are more likely to describe their searches as easy, rather than difficult, there are some differences by gender.
There are substantial gender differences in the amount of attention online daters say they received on dating sites or apps. The survey also asked online daters about their experiences with getting messages from people they were interested in. And while gender differences remain, they are far less pronounced.
Online daters widely believe that dishonesty is a pervasive issue on these platforms. By contrast, online daters are less likely to think harassment or bullying, and privacy violations, such as data breaches or identify theft, are very common occurrences on these platforms. Some experts contend that the open nature of online dating — that is, the fact that many users are strangers to one another — has created a less civil dating environment and therefore makes it difficult to hold people accountable for their behavior.
This survey finds that a notable share of online daters have been subjected to some form of harassment measured in this survey. Fewer online daters say someone via a dating site or app has threatened to physically harm them. Younger women are particularly likely to encounter each of these behaviors. The likelihood of encountering these kinds of behaviors on dating platforms also varies by sexual orientation. LGB users are also more likely than straight users to say someone on a dating site or app continued to contact them after they told them they were not interested, called them an offensive name or threatened to physically harm them.
The creators of online dating sites and apps have at times struggled with the perception that these sites could facilitate troubling — or even dangerous — encounters. OkCupid , how you confuse me. I have friends who've met their ideal match and even spouses through OkCupid. My last serious relationship came from the OkCupid dating service. In fact, I've been on OkCupid on and off, for roughly the last 11 years. Changes in the last few years have made OkCupid a bit more like Tinder both owned by the same company , focusing more on swiping and eliminating the ability to message a user without matching with them first.
Online daters can still send a message -- it just won't show up in the recipient's inbox unless you match. Because who doesn't enjoy sending a thoughtful message to someone who might never see it? However, OkCupid has pointed out that these changes did help lower the number of offensive messages and fake profiles people received, which might be a worthwhile trade-off. Unfortunately in my experience OkCupid has become a bit of an online dating app ghost town.
Hinge finally won me over, becoming my favorite dating app last year. Originally the app focused on common connections and mutual friends that you and a potential partner shared on Facebook, which was a gimmick I was never sold on. But it has since pivoted away from this model. Hinge has designed the app to make user profiles more engaging and helpful than on apps like Tinder. You have the option of displaying a lot of useful information that could be deal breakers: Your political leanings, your religion, your alcohol consumption frequency or even your interest level in having children someday.
The prompts provided by Hinge make it easy to create more engaging profiles. Hinge's current slogan is "designed to be deleted," so if potential match for a serious relationship is what you're looking for, this is the dating app I would recommend. Coffee Meets Bagel hopes to offer people better-quality matches by sending curated daily matches, or "bagels," each day at noon.
They suggest ice-breakers for first messages and the profiles are more in-depth than Tinder. For people who like a little extra hand-holding, CMB isn't the worst option. However, I found the app confusing to use, with too many features and a lot of gimmicks.
I shouldn't have to look up online tutorials to figure out how to use a dating app. Plus why call matches Bagels? I was also disappointed in the notifications, which I found too pushy. CMB was constantly "gently" reminding me to message people I'd matched with. I eventually disabled the app after receiving the following notification: "Show [match name] who's boss and break the ice today!
At the end of the day, I have friends who've had the perfect match on CMB, but it isn't one of my favorite online dating apps. Happn matches you with people who are located nearby. It's a cool concept and helpful for people who want to meet someone in a more organic manner. That said, I've never met a single person who actually uses the app.
After signing up, Happn showed me 68 people it said I had crossed paths with in the preceding three hours, though I hadn't left my apartment all day. This might be helpful if you're looking to date your immediate neighbors or Uber drivers , but I don't see the attraction when competitors like Tinder already show the distance between you and other users.
Frankly, if I saw an attractive guy in a coffee shop, I'd just approach him rather than check to see if he's on Happn. The app seems designed for people who don't want to use online dating sites but also don't want to approach people in real life. Pick a lane. The League is an "elite dating app" that requires you to apply -- and supply your job title, college and LinkedIn profile. Big cities tend to have long waiting lists, so you might find yourself twiddling your thumbs as your application to be one of the elite singles on the app is reviewed.
Of course, you can pay to expedite the process. The exclusivity can be a draw for some and a turnoff for others, but I'll let you in on a secret: I've seen most of the profiles I come across on The League on other dating apps, too. So at the end of the day, you'll probably see the same faces for potential dates on Tinder, if you aren't deemed elite enough for The League. Still, it's nice to have an app to call your own. Her is tailored to lesbian, bisexual and queer women.
It's a worthy notion -- but the app has some bugs and glitches that made it frustrating to use. Most of my queer female friends have told me they found the app "just OK" and not perfect and that they usually end up back on Tinder or Bumble. Still I checked it regularly for some time and had a few pleasant conversations with actual human beings.
Isn't that all we're really looking for in a dating app? Clover tried to be the on-demand version of online dating sites, letting you order a date much like you would a pizza. It also provides numeric match predictions based on compatibility and interests, though it isn't entirely clear how those numbers are calculated.
I was on Clover for quite some time, but had since forgotten it existed until I started to compile this list. It strikes me as a less-successful hybrid of OkCupid and Tinder with a relatively small user base, even though I live in an urban area with plenty of people who use a wide variety of dating apps. Plenty of Fish launched in -- and it shows. The problem I come across over and over again is that POF is filled with bots and scams, even though it may have the most users of any dating app.
POF's issues don't mean you won't be able to find love on it, but the odds might be stacked against you. Unless you're into dating bots. That's a hangover from the early days of online dating sites, when a paid membership to a site meant you were serious about settling down. But my friends and I have long since come to the conclusion that you might be a little too eager to find a significant other or the perfect partner if you pay to get dates, particularly given the abundance of free dating apps.
There are definitely paid features on some dating apps that are worth the price, but I've yet to be able to justify shelling out cash for love. While you can review the profiles of your prospective matches for free, you'll need to pay to unlock the full features of the service. There's a three-month plan and a six-month plan, and they come with a guarantee : If, after three months of paid membership and communicating with at least five members, you're not satisfied, eHarmony will refund your money.
Despite a rocky road that eventually involved a high-profile lawsuit , the site finally added same-sex dating in I have mixed feelings about using the site myself, but it's at least technically more inclusive now. Have you had a good or bad experience with one these services? Do you have any other online dating sites you'd recommend?
Share your experiences in the comments or on social media.
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