Online Dating Through The Decades (How Dating Differs Among The Different Age Demographics)

No matter your age, love and companionship are critical for your overall health. Over the decades, dating has changed a lot. In the 50s, it was common to go to a carnival or out for a milkshake to get to know someone. Nowadays, people are meeting online and getting to know each other before they even go out on a date.

Looking at how dating differs among the different age demographics will help you to navigate modern dating. It also helps you when it comes to what to expect once you start your online dating journey.

online dating and age demographics

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Online Dating has Tripled Among Young Adults

Since 2013, the number of young adults using online dating sites has tripled. In 2013, about 10% of adults ages 18 to 24 were regularly engaged in online dating. However, today this figure is 27%.

Adults in this age group are part of the Gen Z generation. Many are working and attending school, or sometimes working multiple jobs. Traditional dating takes a lot more time compared to online dating, so it makes sense that they would look for love online.

There has also been a nearly equal increase in this age group using dating apps. In 2013, about 5% of people 18 to 24 used dating apps regularly. However, today, this figure is about 22%.

More young people are choosing to meet people online today rather than at a club or a bar. It is estimated that only about 2% of men and 9% of women seek out romantic partners in a club or a bar today.

It is far easier to check in on a site or an app in between jobs and classes. Young Gen Z adults can also better vet potential mates so that they are only going out with very compatible people.

Young People Spend About 77 Minutes Daily on Dating Apps

Younger people dominate when it comes to the age groups that are present on dating sites. This age group also tends to spend the most time browsing on online dating sites. It is estimated that they spend about 77 minutes per day engaging in online dating using a mobile app.

There are a lot of young people who even check in on their online dating apps when they are at work. The apps that they use most often include those like Tinder and Grindr.

It is not uncommon for younger people to put a lot of focus on their dating life, especially those between ages 18 and 24. This is believed to be largely due to the societal expectations that people marry prior to age 30.

20% of Millennials Date Online

With the fast-paced lives of today’s millennials, it is not hard to believe that about 20% of them engage in online dating regularly. Millennials are those that are born between 1981 and 1996.

Many millennials work long hours or multiple jobs, so it is not easy to hit up the bars or go on multiple blind dates to find someone special. Because of this, they turn to online dating. It allows them to meet multiple people in a short span of time and to get to know them before taking things to the real world.

There are several dating sites that cater to young professionals, mostly those that fall into the millennial generation. The design of the sites and a lot of the members fall within this generation so that it is easy to meet people from this age demographic.

Millennials are more likely to use dating apps as opposed to dating websites. However, it is common for them to sign up on an actual website and then just use the associated app to do most of their browsing and communicating.

More Seniors Are Using Online Dating

In a survey conducted in 2018, it was discovered that about 29% of seniors met someone via online dating. There are sites that are exclusive to the age 55 and older crowd. However, most dating sites have this age demographic present.

When seniors are using the internet to meet someone new, it is a good idea to consider using at least one senior online dating site. This is because it automatically narrows down the age demographic to people in your peer group. Overall, it will be a lot easier to meet people who you have some things in common with.

If you join a general dating site, make it clear the ages of the partners that you want to meet. For example, if you want to meet people age 50 to 60, state this on your profile. Then, when people start looking at profiles to find possible matches, they will know if they meet your preferences when it comes to age.

Younger Men Are More Likely to Buy Gifts for Their Online Dates

When you meet someone online, if you two have good chemistry, you are likely to make plans to meet in the real world eventually. Bringing flowers or another small gift is often something that is thought to be only something older generations do. However, it appears that younger men are more likely to engage in this practice.

One survey looked at dating behaviors and compared them among the different age demographics. It was determined that among men ages 22 to 34 about 25% of them will bring a gift for the woman that they are meeting for a date. This is compared to about 17% of the men in the survey who were age 55 and older.

In most cases, the gifts were small. Something like a single rose or even a sweet card to make the initial introduction a little less awkward. However, some men in the survey did say that they went a little bigger and a few even said that they brought a piece of jewelry as a gift for the first real world date with a woman who they met online.

Older Adults Are Less Interested in Physical Appearance

Among those age 55 and older, nearly a third of older adults do not view physical appearance as very important when it comes to meeting people online. It is estimated that approximately 29% will not consider someone’s physical appearance a dealbreaker.

Older adults are often more interested in what they have in common with someone and how well the two can have a conversation. It is believed that this is partially due to older adults putting greater emphasis on companionship.

If two older adults who meet online do not end up in a romantic relationship, they may still form a friendship. This is especially important for those who are recently widowed or divorced.

Physical Intimacy on the First Date is More Common Among Millennials

Compared to people in the age 55 and older group, those in the millennial generation are more likely to get physically intimate on their first real-world date with someone they meet online. In fact, they are 32% more likely to engage in this behavior.

In most cases, millennials say that they know within the first 10 or 15 minutes if they have chemistry with someone after they meet them in person. If they believe that there is chemistry and the date continues to go well, many will not automatically end the date after the meal, movie or coffee is done.

It is important for millennials to use caution, however. There is always a risk of STDs and other dangers when they decide to become physically intimate with a person who they do not know well.

Compared to Women, Men Over Age 55 Do Not View Age as Important

When it comes to online daters who are age 55 and older, men care less about the ages of their matches compared to women in this same age group. It is estimated that men care about 83% less than women when it comes to their partner’s age.

This is not a surprising statistic as older men are more likely to date younger women compared to how often older women date younger men. However, more older women are embracing the cougar lifestyle, so this figure may even out more in the coming years.

When you sign up on an online dating site, most of them allow you to specify your age preferences. This is where you can make it clear if you find the age of your matches very important. In most cases, you can also input the age range that you find ideal.

Most Generation Z Daters Seeking Long-Term Relationships

While those in the Gen Z generation are no stranger to casual dating, it is estimated that about 63% of them are seeking a long-term partner. Most of them also say that they are relatively optimistic about their journey to finding someone special.

This could be due to the fact that this generation is still young and have not had the same experiences regarding love as millennials and those over age 55. When you compare Gen Z to those older than the millennial generation, the older adults are not as optimistic. Only about 46% of them think that they will find their soulmate.

Ghosting is Very Common Among Millennials

It is estimated that 71% of men and 82% of millennial women have been involved in ghosting. For some, they did the ghosting while for others, they were the victim of ghosting.

Ghosting refers to just stopping all communication and essentially disappearing. It allows people to avoid the confrontation associated with having to break off a dating relationship. For some, this is just easier and helps to prevent the anxiety that can come with this conversation.

However, experts say that ghosting is not the way to end a partnership. Even if you have only been communicating for a short while, it is best to end it officially so that the both of you get the needed closure so that you can both move on.

Most Older Online Daters Have a College Education

The majority of online daters who are age 50 and older have a college education. It is estimated that about 82% of them state that they are college graduates. Because of this, many older daters tend to give preference to potential matches that also have a college education.

Generation Z is the Most Open-Minded Online Dating Age Group

There are numerous taboos in society. However, for those in Generation Z, almost nothing is off limits. They are far more interested in meeting partners who put emphasis on transparency and openness.

This age group wants to meet people who are not judgmental and are open to people of all lifestyles and backgrounds. Because of this, you will see a lot of things like interracial dating, for example.

The information shown below is taken from the infographic above.
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Please feel free to use portions of it in any writing that references this article.

1. Among those ages 18 to 24, online dating has tripled since 2013.

2. Young adults spend about 77 minutes each day on their online dating apps.

3. Approximately 20% of those in the millennial generation date online.

4. An estimated 29% of seniors age 55 and older are using online dating.

5. About 22% of men ages 22 to 34 will buy a gift for an online partner that they meet in the real world for a date.

6. Approximately 29% of online daters over age 55 do not view physical appearance as a dealbreaker.

7. About 32% of millennials get physically intimate on their first real-world date with someone they met online.

8. Age is 83% less important to men over the age of 55 compared to women in this same age group.

9. About 63% of Generation Z daters want a long-term partner.

10. Approximately 71% of men and 82% of women in the millennial generation have taken part in ghosting.

11. An estimated 82% of online daters over age 50 have a college education.

12. The most open-minded online dating age group is those in Generation Z.



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