February 13, 2006

Romance in America

WASHINGTON — Most young singles in America do not describe themselves as actively looking for romantic partners. Even those who are seeking relationships are not dating frequently. About half (49%) had been on no more than one date in the previous three months. These findings emerge from a national survey conducted last fall by the Pew Internet & American Life Project looking at the place of online dating in the larger picture of relationships in America. The survey found that dating in America is, indeed, affected by online matchmaking activity. But in analyzing our findings, we discovered another story: Large numbers of single Americans are not actively looking for relationships and even significant numbers of those looking for partners are not that active on the dating scene. Among all singles, just 16% say they are currently looking for a romantic partner. That amounts to 7% of the adult population. Some 55% of singles report no active interest in seeking a romantic partner. This is especially true for women, for those who have been widowed or divorced, and for older singles. Yet even among the youngest adults, the zest for romance is relatively muted: 51% of singles ages 18-29 say they are not currently looking for a romantic partner.