It’s too simple to say that, once, college students met each other in person. College was scaffolded with social activities meant to introduce strangers to other strangers, whether it was speed dating or fraternity-sorority hang-outs. But a new poll finds that an extraordinary technological change has taken place over the past three years.
Just two years ago, American adults ages 18 to 24 used online-dating sites and apps at an average rate for all American adults—about 10 percent. Since then, that rate has almost tripled. College-aged and post-college-aged Americans are now the most likely demographic to turn to the technology.
That’s the most interesting result from a Pew Research Center survey released Thursday on Americans’ online-dating habits. Conducted early last summer, the poll found that use of the services has grown modestly since 2013. Fifteen percent of Americans have now used a website or app to look for a romantic partner; three years ago, only nine percent had.
As it happens, the only group which has taken to online dating at a rate like very young adults have been older adults. Middle-aged Americans, 55 to 64, are now twice as likely to try looking for someone online since 2013. The technology also gained some users among 45-to-54-year-olds.
Almost 30 percent of Americans know a long-term relationship which sprang from online dating; about 40 percent of them know someone who uses it.
Most interesting to me: These two numbers leap up significantly among affluent or college-educated Americans. Forty-six percent of college graduates know people who met their spouse or partner online. And 58 percent of college-educated Americans, and also Americans who make more than $75,000 per year, knew someone who used a dating site or app: These were the only two majorities recorded for this part of the section. (That said, college graduates don’t use dating services at more than an average rate.)
Couples meeting on dating apps is the norm now, but could it be that knowing there are always more potential love interests just a swipe away is leaving us spoilt for choice and confused?
“The research here and around the world shows there is a lot of dissatisfaction in the outcomes of many dating apps,” Nicole McInnes, Director of eHarmony Australia, told Cosmopolitan.