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In general, online daters themselves give the experience high marks.Some 79% of online daters agree that online dating is a good way to meet people, and 70% of them agree that it helps people find a better romantic match because they have access to a wide range of potential partners.

Compared with when we conducted our first study of dating and relationships in 2005, many more Americans are using online tools to check up on people they used to date, and to flirt with potential (or current) love interests: Young adults are especially likely to flirt online—47% of internet users ages 18-24 have done this before, as have 40% of those ages 25-34.And while younger adults are also more likely than their elders to look up past flames online, this behavior is still relatively common among older cohorts.This question was asked of everyone in a marriage or other long-term partnership, including many whose relationships were initiated well before meeting online was an option.Looking only at those committed relationships that started within the last ten years, 11% say that their spouse or partner is someone they met online.People in nearly every major demographic group—old and young, men and women, urbanites and rural dwellers—are more likely to know someone who uses online dating (or met a long term partner through online dating) than was the case eight years ago.

And this is especially true for those at the upper end of the socio-economic spectrum: Even as online daters have largely positive opinions of the process, many have had negative experiences using online dating.

We refer to these individuals throughout this report as “online daters,” and we define them in the following way: Taken together, 11% of all American adults have done one or both of these activities and are classified as “online daters.” In terms of demographics, online dating is most common among Americans in their mid-20’s through mid-40’s.

Some 22% of 25-34 year olds and 17% of 35-44 year olds are online daters.

Younger adults are also more likely than older ones to say that their relationship began online.

Some 8% of 18-29 year olds in a marriage or committed relationship met their partner online, compared with 7% of 30-49 year olds, 3% of 50-64 year olds, and just 1% of those 65 and older.

Women are much more likely than men to have experienced uncomfortable contact via online dating sites or apps: some 42% of female online daters have experienced this type of contact at one point or another, compared with 17% of men.