More Americans looking to Internet to play Cupid - Pew survey

A couple kiss while waiting to celebrate the new year in New York's Times Square on Dec 31, 2015.
A couple kiss while waiting to celebrate the new year in New York's Times Square on Dec 31, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Just in time for Valentine's Day, a survey shows that more Americans are looking for love through online dating, with more than four times as many young adults using mobile apps than in 2013.

The survey of 2,001 US grown-ups by the Pew Research Centre said on Thursday that 15 per cent had used online dating sites and/or mobile dating applications, up from 11 per cent in early 2013.

Twenty-seven per cent of Americans aged 18 to 24 said they used online dating, almost triple the level in 2013. The number that have used dating applications such as Tinder on a mobile device has risen to 22 per cent from 5 per cent, the survey said.

Users of the high-tech tools can "really narrow down their pool of potential partners in a way that's much more efficient and simple than it might have been in the past," said Aaron Smith, associate director for Internet research at Pew.

Dating apps on cellphones have been used by almost one in 10 US adults, triple the level three years ago.

Among Americans 55 to 64 years old, 12 per cent have used online dating, double the percentage three years ago, the survey said.

Four of five Americans who have gone online to find a date say it is a good way to meet people, and 62 per cent agree that online dating helps people find a better match.

But the survey shows the caveats that come with going into cyberspace for a date. Forty-five per cent of online dating users agree that it is more dangerous than other ways of meeting people.

Almost a third say that online dating keeps people from settling down, because they always have dating options.

Smith said release of the survey results had been timed to coincide with Valentine's Day on Sunday.

"We thought this was an interesting angle on the state of modern love," said Smith.

The telephone poll was carried out via landline and cellphone interviews in English and Spanish from June 10 through July 12, 2015, among a sample of adults 18 years of age or older in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The margin of error is 2.5 percentage points.