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Although 15% of Americans have used online dating themselves, a larger share report that they are familiar with online dating from the experiences of people they know.
Some 41% of American adults say they know someone who uses online dating, while 29% indicate they know someone who has married or entered into a long-term partnership with someone they met via online dating.
As was the case in previous Pew Research Center surveys of online dating, college graduates and the relatively affluent are especially likely to know people who use online dating or to know people who have entered into a relationship that began online.
Nearly six-in-ten college graduates (58%) know someone who uses online dating, and nearly half (46%) know someone who has entered into a marriage or long-term partnership with someone they met via online dating.
By comparison, just 25% of those with a high school diploma or less know someone who uses online dating – and just 18% know someone who has entered into a long-term relationship with someone they met this way.
Users of online dating are generally positive – but far from universally so – about the pros and cons of dating digitally.
On one hand, a majority of online dating users agree that dating digitally has distinct advantages over other ways of meeting romantic partners: But despite these reservations, those who have personally used online dating themselves – or know someone who does – tend to have much more positive attitudes compared to those with little direct exposure to online dating or online daters.
The share of 18- to 24-year-olds who report having used online dating has nearly tripled in the last two years.
Today 27% of these young adults report that they have done so, up from just 10% in early 2013.
Meanwhile, the share of 55- to 64-year-olds who use online dating has doubled over the same time period (from 6% in 2013 to 12% in 2015).
For young adults in particular, this overall increase in online dating usage has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in the use of mobile dating apps.
Fully 22% of 18- to 24-year-olds now report using mobile dating apps, a more than fourfold increase from the 5% who reported using dating apps in 2013.