Who Uses Online Dating the Most?

After the rise of the internet came online dating. In the early 2000’s about 1% of Americans used dating websites or dating apps. That has gone up to around 15% today. But who are these people? Who uses online dating the most and who just goes to the bar looking to meet someone? 1843 Magazine looks at the numbers for online dating.

Young people are, unsurprisingly, more comfortable with looking for love online – but so is the “liberal elite”. Americans from households with an annual income of more than $75,000 are nearly twice as likely to know an online suitor as those earning less than $30,000. A similar disparity exists between those who identify as “very liberal” and “very conservative”. The ratio between college graduates and high-school dropouts is almost four to one.

One possible reason is convenience. People with impressive degrees and fat wallets are often pressed for time, and are more likely to agree that online dating is efficient – though not by much. A more plausible explanation is open-mindedness. Affluent, high-achieving Americans are compara­tively reluctant to describe online daters as desperate.

Since the dawn of humanity young people have sought ways to find a compatible companion for a long term relationship. Years ago we compared internet dating to using a matchmaker.

The practical aspect of using a matchmaker is to think a bit about whom one will be happy with and to limit one’s search for a mate by a given set of criteria. Now enter the internet. Internet dating as a matchmaker works like the matchmaker of old. The individual submits his or her resume and joins an online dating service. He or she then searches for that special someone using a defined set of criteria. Many speed dating events work the same way in that they are set up so that one can meet many people, all of whom meet a certain set of criteria, in a short time.

Social events like more or less formal dances are meant to bring individuals together in a neutral setting. Think in this case of online chatting for a version of internet dating as a matchmaker. The criteria are not as strict as using a matchmaker but chatting online has some of the qualities of a large social event at which one can meet and greet many potential mates without having to commit to anything.

It is not surprising that people who are more comfortable with the internet and perhaps work all day at a computer are also those who are more likely to use online dating the most. It is also not surprising that people who have put off serious relationships and marriage in pursuit of a career now are wealthier and have the internet skills needed to use online dating. And a person who dated in high school, got a job out of school and then got married never needed to use online dating because the person they dated is someone they grew up with. In other words it may not be so much a matter of preference but rather a matter of circumstances that decide if we use online dating or not.

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