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Most online Americans who are single and looking for dates have used the internet to pursue their romantic interests and millions more Americans know people who have tried and succeeded at online dating.
In a new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, there are two central findings that illustrate how important the internet has become for those seeking romance in 21 Century America: First, among the relatively small and active cohort of 10 million internet users who say they are currently single and looking for romantic partners, 74% say they have used the internet in one way or another to further their romantic interests.
In a separate question, 6% of online daters say that dating websites do an “excellent” job of protecting people’s personal information, while 32% say they do a “good” job.
Another 33% rate the services as “fair” and 12% say the websites do a “poor” job of protecting their information.
Of the 16 million people who have been to online dating sites, 52% say they had mostly positive experiences.
While 44% agree that internet dating is a “good way to meet people,” the same percentage disagrees with that statement. Online men (48%) have a greater tendency to see the benefits of online dating when compared with online women (41%).
While some stigma about online dating persists, most internet users do not view it simply as a last resort.
The majority (61%) of online adults do not think that people who use online dating are “desperate.” However, 29% hold the view that online daters are in dire dating straits.
Second, there is relatively broad public contact with the online dating world because significant numbers of Americans personally know others who have tried and succeeded at online dating.
Some 15% of those in this survey of the general public – representing about 30 million Americans – say they know someone who has been in a long-term relationship or married someone they met online.