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Even today, the vast majority of Americans who are in a marriage, partnership, or other serious relationship say that they met their partner through offline—rather than online—means.
At the same time, the proportion of Americans who say that they met their current partner online has doubled in the last eight years.
Women are much more likely than men to have experienced uncomfortable contact via online dating sites or apps: some 42% of female online daters have experienced this type of contact at one point or another, compared with 17% of men.
Paid dating sites, and sites for people who are seeking partners with specific characteristics are popular with relatively large numbers of online daters: Organized outings are much less common, as just 4% of online daters have attended a group outing or other physical event organized by an online dating site.
Some 42% of Americans know someone who has used online dating, up from 31% in 2005.
And 29% of Americans now know someone who met a spouse or other long-term partner through online dating, up from just 15% in 2005.
Compared with when we conducted our first study of dating and relationships in 2005, many more Americans are using online tools to check up on people they used to date, and to flirt with potential (or current) love interests: Young adults are especially likely to flirt online—47% of internet users ages 18-24 have done this before, as have 40% of those ages 25-34.
And while younger adults are also more likely than their elders to look up past flames online, this behavior is still relatively common among older cohorts.
Online dating is also relatively popular among the college-educated, as well as among urban and suburban residents.
And 38% of Americans who are single and actively looking for a partner have used online dating at one point or another.
Some 6% of internet users who are in a marriage, partnership, or other committed relationship met their partner online—that is up from 3% of internet users who said this in 2005.
On an “all-adults” basis, that means that 5% of all committed relationships in America today began online.
Moving beyond dates, one quarter of online daters (23%) say that they themselves have entered into a marriage or long-term relationship with someone they met through a dating site or app.