Looking for love? In what will be no surprise to anyone on the dating scene today, a new report from Pew shows that "online," is increasingly the answer to that that age-old question "How did you two meet?"
The study published Thursday from the Pew Research Center found that 15 percent of all Americans have used some form of online dating — up from the 11 percent in a Pew study conducted in 2013. The face of online dating itself is also changing: Nine percent of Americans now use dating apps, up from three percent over the same time period. Score one for the Tinders, Hinges and Bumbles of the world.
Digging deeper, the trends get even more interesting. Young adults (ages 18-24) are the fastest-growing group to make the move to online dating, and 22 percent of them report using apps for dating, more than the 19 percent who report using websites. Overall, 27 percent are now reporting that they use some form of online dating; that's nearly tripled since Pew's last study. So even a graduate from the class of 2013 would be saying, "Kids these days!" when looking at the college hookup (er, dating) scene today.
Adults between the ages of 55 and 64 are also turning to websites and apps more often, with 12 percent reporting they've used an online dating site —doubling from Pew's previous study.
But don't expect to see many grandparents on Tinder any time soon. This trend among older adults is largely restricted to dating websites; just an adventurous four percent of those in this age range are using dating apps. For those 65 and over, you'll find just one percent using apps.
And how are people finding the world of online dating? Despite the wealth of horror stories that may be fun to giggle over during a happy hour, a full 80 percent of Americans say that online dating is a good way to meet people. And more than 60 percent say that they think it allows them to find a better match, and that it's "easier and more efficient" than doing things the old-fashioned way.
It's not all sunshine and roses, however. A little less than one-third of respondents, 31 percent, also think that having all of that choice keeps people from settling down. And 45 percent said that they think online dating is more dangerous than other ways to meet new people; women are far more likely to express this concern than men.
Apparently there is still a little bit of a stigma associated with meeting someone online. Sixteen percent of respondents said that they think "people who use online dating sites are desperate."
Geez, tell us how you really feel.
Overall, however, those people seem to be in the minority. Online dating continues to be most prevalent among college graduates and the relatively affluent — presumably because they can afford to finance all those quick drinks and fancy cups of coffee. Nearly half of the college graduates (46 percent) know someone who's either gone into a long-term relationship or married a partner they met online.
With numbers like that, it's probably safe to say that we're not too far from just calling it "dating."