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Even today, online dating is not universally seen as a positive activity—a significant minority of the public views online dating skeptically.

At the same time, public attitudes towards online dating have grown more positive in the last eight years: Additionally, 32% of internet users agree with the statement that “online dating keeps people from settling down because they always have options for people to date.” This is the first time we have asked this question.

Younger adults are also more likely than older ones to say that their relationship began online.

People in nearly every major demographic group—old and young, men and women, urbanites and rural dwellers—are more likely to know someone who uses online dating (or met a long term partner through online dating) than was the case eight years ago.

And this is especially true for those at the upper end of the socio-economic spectrum: Even as online daters have largely positive opinions of the process, many have had negative experiences using online dating.

We refer to these individuals throughout this report as “online daters,” and we define them in the following way: Taken together, 11% of all American adults have done one or both of these activities and are classified as “online daters.” In terms of demographics, online dating is most common among Americans in their mid-20’s through mid-40’s.

Some 22% of 25-34 year olds and 17% of 35-44 year olds are online daters.

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 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.In general, online daters themselves give the experience high marks.Some 79% of online daters agree that online dating is a good way to meet people, and 70% of them agree that it helps people find a better romantic match because they have access to a wide range of potential partners.In addition, people who have used online dating are significantly more likely to say that their relationship began online than are those who have never used online dating.

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