(USA TODAY) -- Online dating and its newer relative - mobile dating apps - are
increasingly a go-to option to meet a romantic partner, according to a
Pew Research Center report that finds 11% of American adults have used
either. Among those who have, 66% have gone on a date with someone they
met through a dating site or app, and 23% met their spouse or
significant other that way.
The report, out today, is based on a
telephone survey of 2,252 adults, age 18 and older, completed in May. It
offers a first glimpse at mobile dating apps, finding that 3% of all
adults say they've used such an app on their cellphone.
analysis is the latest in a series of efforts designed to get a better
handle on how much technology has changed the way prospective partners
pair up. Unlike data released this summer based on a survey commissioned
by a dating website, Pew, a non-partisan organization, is an
"We're not just looking at users of a particular
site or a convenience sample," says the report's lead author, Aaron
Smith. "We have the ability to look at a nationally representative
portion of the population to show not only what's happening now but how
those behaviors have changed over a period of time."
details an evolution in trends. Forty-two percent of Americans know
someone who has used online dating, up from 31% in a 2005 report from
Pew. Additionally, 29% of Americans know someone who met a spouse or
other long-term partner through online dating, up from 15%.
Michael Rosenfeld of Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., whose
online dating research is based on a nationally representative,
longitudinal survey, says Pew's study shows how "the Internet continues
to expand in use and in acceptance as a way to meet potential
Pew's survey includes a subset of 1,895 Internet users.
Among those, 32% agree that "online dating keeps people from settling
down because they always have options for people to date." It's a
first-time question for Pew and a subject that others who study online
dating say is up for debate.
Sociologist Kevin Lewis of the
University of California-San Diego studies online dating and says
Internet options don't offer "some promised land of eligible partners."
women, there are lots of guys who are just creepy or unattractive or
undesirable. For guys, there's often the opposite problem - they can't
get a woman to respond because they're inundated with so many messages,"
he says. "It's not a panacea for those who say, 'I'm single, and I
could break up with my girlfriend and find something better online.' "
the online daters surveyed, 40% have used a site or app for people with
shared interests or backgrounds, and one-third (33%) have paid a dating
site or app. Although gatherings organized by an online dating site are
increasing, just 4% of online daters have attended such an event, Pew
The downsides are evident: 54% "felt someone else seriously
misrepresented themselves in their profile," and 28% "have been
contacted by someone through an online dating site or app in a way that
made them feel harassed or uncomfortable."
A tidbit Smith found
interesting is that 38% of online daters have come across a profile or
been matched with someone they already knew.