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Online Dating by the Numbers

128 million singles in US

I know---who wants to reduce dating to a numbers game?  We want it to be romantic and just fall into it organically.  That’s what happened in our 20’s, right?  We met someone in college, grad school, professionally.  But as you jump into second acts of dating in your 40s, 50s and 60s+, the dating game has changed drastically.

And, in our favor!  We have so many options now—if you do it correctly, have a good strategy and understand how to navigate online dating.  That’s the biggest mistake people make---they just don’t know what they are doing and give up after 2, 3 weeks.

So here we go with some simple stats that may clarify the dating scene for you:

1.       3% of First Dates leads to marriage.  I like to think about it like this---1 in 33 people just may be your person.  In 6 months, that is roughly 5 dates per month.

2.       There are 128 million singles in the US.

3.      About four-in-ten adults ages 50 to 65 are single. I like these odds!

4.      Around 40% of U.S. couples meet via dating apps/sites.  I was at a dinner last week with 6 couple and 4 had met online on varied sites.  It was interesting what site they picked!

5.      According to Pew Research Center, the percentage of adults who met their spouse or partner through friends has decreased from 29% in 1995 to 16% in 2020.  It’s even worse if they met through family.

6.      You don’t have all the time in the world.  Once you hit your late 60’s and 70’s dating activity significantly decreases.  Time is the most valuable commodity and you won’t get it back.  That does not mean you won’t have success in this age group—but it does take strategy to circumvent frustration.  And the right site, dating profile and photos.

7.      To find a great relationship in the 50+ age group? You must fail faster.  What?!?  This means you need to figure out and learn things about the person faster.  In our 20’s, we’d date someone for 4 years.  In our 60’s, we have life experience and on average, a person figures out it’s a no or a go after 5 dates.  So, you see red flags in the first month?  Let it go and move on.

8.      200 characters (not words) is the ideal first message length:

Hi, how’s your weekend?   (20 characters, this will get zero responses)

Hi Ally, Great photos at the Barrier Reef.  I love scuba diving anywhere—and snorkeling in Australia and Carib. Italian? What’s your favorite?  I make carbonara my friends love. Would you like a quick chat this week?  I’m interested! Henry (198 characters, asks a question, shows he has read her profile)

9.       People are 203% more likely to contact you if you have a full-body shot. 

(CNN Business) Without a doubt, I know this---and please make sure it is current!

10.   Busiest day for online dating messaging?  Sunday.  (I recommend the early evening.)

11.   Gender-Wise?   68% of males and 55% of females over age 50 view online dating positively, a major reversal from the year 2000 when it was 27% and 14% respectively.

12.   38% of online daters pay for the dating site.  (heavily skewed by free sites like Tinder Free and Facebook).  My reaction:  no skin in the game?  Don’t bother with these sites.

13.   1400+    The number of dating apps and sites in cyberworld.

14.   ¾ of online dating users want some kind of commitment.

15.   42% of Online Dating users aim for marriage.  (Note:  this stat takes into account all age groups; the under 50 age group has a higher percentage wanting marriage while the 50+ group wants companionship, a long-term relationship or marriage.)

16.   The majority of online daters in the US say that relationships that come from online dating are as successful as in-person meetings or fix-ups. (54%) I agree based on my 25+ years in the dating industry. 

17.   Surprise, Surprise!  Women (72%) are much more likely to care about profile information than a man.  That is exactly why when I am writing dating profiles, I keep them short and sweet. (for the men!)

18.   And, last but not least, 29% of online daters don’t waste any time to meet matches—they meet within a week.   I am such an advocate of this---when I hear people having 2-3 phone calls with a person before they meet, I just say time is a-wasting’.     Why?  Chemistry happens in person and you are meeting in a safe venue.

I’ve been around the dating industry since 1991 when I started It’s Just Lunch and there was no, no Google, and your options were severely limited.  As we hit the year 2000, online dating was in its infancy and just a chaotic mess—from Nigerian princes requesting money to search filters and algorithms that did not work well.   Then in the 2010’s, online dating really came together for many of the sites/apps---happily increasing our options.

Yes, most people who contact me are very frustrated with online dating or they simply don’t know how to work it and don’t want to put in the time.  Totally understandable to me. 

I am a big fan of online dating, done right.  I hope online dating by numbers inspired hope and optimism. From mega-cities to small towns, now everyone can date and hopefully find their person.  And, that makes me happy.




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