Pew Research Center: Americans Over 50 & Dating Apps

The Pew Research Center has released new findings on how Americans aged 50 & above use and perceive dating apps. It found that 17% of Americans over 50 have used a dating app, and that men over 65 years old are more likely to pay for premium features.

The center spoke to 6,034 U.S. adults to analyse the dating habits of different generations, and here are some of the key findings. 

  • How popular is online dating in this demographic?

One-in-six US adults aged 50 and older have used a dating platform, the research found. This figure has kept roughly steady since the center’s previous research in 2019. 23% of these respondents in their 50s have used a dating app, and this number decreases among those in their 60s and 70s.

Despite these adults having tried dating apps, only 3% of adults over 50 still currently use a dating platform. Furthermore only 6% of over 50s with a significant other say they met their special someone via online dating.

  • What is the motivation for using a dating app?

Around 50% of Americans over 50 say they used a dating app in the past year to find a long-term partner or spouse. Interestingly, 36% say they are more interested in casual dating.

Around 22% of this demographic say they use these platforms for casual sex, while 30% say they are looking for new friends.

  • Is this demographic paying for online dating?

Across men and women aged 18 and above, around 35% have paid for features on a dating app. For those aged 50-64, and 65+, that number increases to 45% and 44% respectively.

Generally speaking, men are more likely to pay for these services, when compared to women, regardless of their age. However, among over 50s, the likelihood of paying for services increases significantly.

  • Which dating platforms are popular among this demographic?

Match and eharmony are the leaders when it comes to users aged 50 and above. Despite being the most popular platform worldwide, only 19% of users in their 50s have tried Tinder. This is compared to 53% of that age group having tried Match.

  • How do older generations perceive online dating and its negatives?

Among dating app users of all ages and genders, 53% say that their experiences were positive. When looking at men over 50, that percentage rises to 60%. However for women over 50, they are more likely to report negative experiences compared to the average.

But why could this be? 47% of online daters aged 50 and above report encountering another user who they believe was trying to scam them. Additionally, 45% of those 65 and older report experiencing at least one type of unwanted behaviour.

These behaviours include receiving sexually explicit content, persistent contact after expressing non-interest, being called an offensive name, or being threatened. Generally, receiving explicit content was the unwanted behaviour that most respondents experienced.

Click here to read the Pew Research Center’s findings in full. 

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