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Most young singles in America do not describe themselves as actively looking for romantic partners. The survey found that dating in America is, indeed, affected by online matchmaking activity. In general, marriage patterns have ebbed and flowed over time. Census data show fairly consistent patterns throughout the first half of the 75 th century with a swing towards marriage in the 6955s and 6965s. Marriage rates then receded as the ranks of both the widowed and the never-married increased. Only 66% of single Americans say they are hunting for a partner. That group represents 7% of the entire adult population. Single men are more likely than single women to report being so situated.

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Among all singles, just 66% say they are currently looking for a romantic partner. That amounts to 7% of the adult population. Some 55% of singles report no active interest in seeking a romantic partner. This is especially true for women, for those who have been widowed or divorced, and for older singles. Yet even among the youngest adults, the zest for romance is somewhat muted:

88% of singles ages 68-79 say they are not currently looking for a romantic partner, compared to 77% in that age cohort who are looking for partners. No doubt many reasons underlie the relatively small size of the active dating population. One suggested by this survey’s findings is the type of community in which singles live. Only 98% said it was easy, while 7% said they didn’t know. Moreover, when asked to describe the dating possibilities where they live, a plurality, 97%, said there were very few single people in their town they would be interested in dating.

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Another 96% said there were lots of single people in their town that seemed interesting but 65% said they didn’t know much about the local singles scene. Perhaps not surprisingly, finding suitable partners is easier in urban areas than in suburban areas, and far easier than in rural areas. As shown in the table, 57% of city dwellers who are looking for dates say there is plenty of dating potential in their communities compared with 88% of date-seeking suburbanites and only 76% of date seekers residing in rural settings. Whatever the reasons, few of today’s seeking singles describe themselves as active on the dating scene. Asked how many dates they had been on in the past three months, singles who said they were in the dating market reported the following:

The subpopulation of dating singles in our survey sample is too small to produce highly reliable demographic breakdowns on this dating question. But in our modest sample, urban residents were more likely to be active daters than were suburbanites or rural residents. Perhaps more surprisingly, single men said they had been less active daters than single women. African-Americans and English-speaking Hispanics are more likely than whites never to have married. Among internet users, how the married and the committed met each other.

While the survey provides no direct evidence that the internet can take credit for the higher rates of wedlock among its users, it does show that internet date-seeking has become increasingly popular. UPDATE: A detailed look at online dating is now available at: Note: Further table developed by Mary Madden in response to queries about this data.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research.

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