Online dating is now the primary way people meet for relationships
According to data from the How Couples Meet and Stay Together survey, a comprehensive national survey on romantic relationships in the US, 39% of couples now meet and start relationships from online services. This has now become the leading way for relationships to start. The share of couples meeting online has almost doubled since 2009. Between 1995 to 2017, meeting through friends saw the largest decline, with 40% fewer people meeting this way.
This is likely the most transformative change that has occurred in the dating sphere in the past 20 years. This change coincides clearly with many of the other trends discussed on this page, such as the overall increase in male celibacy during this time frame and greater amount of sex being consolidated to the top 5-20% of men.
This change has also created a $4 billion online dating industry. Many of these online services primarily target men for payments by requiring ongoing payments in order for their profile to be seen by women (eg. Tinder Boosts).
- For heterosexual couples in the U.S., meeting online has become the most popular way couples meet, eclipsing meeting through friends for the first time around 2013.
- 39% of heterosexual couples that got together in the US in 2017 met online.
- The share of couples meeting online has just about doubled since 2009.
- Between 1995 to 2017, meeting through friends saw the largest decline, from 33% of couples at the start of the period to just 20% at the end.
- We find that Internet meeting is displacing the roles that family and friends once played in bringing couples together.
- Rosenfeld M, Thomas RJ, Hausen S. 2019. Research Note: Disintermediating your friends. Pending for peer-review publication. htttps://web.stanford.edu/~mrosenfe/Rosenfeld_et_al_Disintermediating_Friends.pdfps://web.stanford.edu/~mrosenfe/Rosenfeld_et_al_Disintermediating_Friends.pdf https://data.stanford.edu/hcmst https://qz.com/1546677/around-40-of-us-couples-now-first-meet-online/