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Are you in the 67% single-and-looking adults finding it difficult to date?

September 14, 2021

Two-thirds of those who are single and looking for a relationship or dates say their dating life is either going not too well or not at all well (67%), while 33% say it’s going very or fairly well. Majorities of daters across divides by gender, age, race and ethnicity, education, sexual orientation and marital history say their dating life is not going well.

Daters who have had difficulty finding people to date give a variety of reasons

Among these daters who report that they have had difficulty in the past year finding someone to date, no one explanation for their difficulty stands out as most important. The challenges of finding someone looking for the same type of relationship (53%), finding it hard to approach people (46%) and finding someone who meets one’s expectations (43%) top the list as major reasons why it has been difficult to find people to date. However, substantial shares also say the limited number of people in their area to date (37%), being too busy (34%) and people not being interested in dating them (30%) are major reasons.

Many men say it’s difficult for them to approach people, while majorities of women say it’s hard to find someone looking for the same type of relationship as them and who meets their expectations.

For their part, men are more likely to say difficulty in approaching people (52% of men vs. 35% of women) and being too busy (38% vs. 29%) are major reasons it has been difficult to find people to date.

Most single people aren’t feeling too much pressure to find a partner

The majority of single adults don’t feel a great deal of pressure to be in a committed relationship. Some 37% say they feel a lot or some pressure from society to find a partner and 31% say they feel pressure from their family. Just 22% say the same about pressure coming from their friends. Very small shares say they feel a lot of pressure from each of these sources.

The picture is different when looking only at young singles. Among those ages 18 to 29, 53% say they feel that society puts a lot of or some pressure on them to be in a relationship. Young singles are also far more likely than their older counterparts to say they face pressure from their family members to be part of a couple: 47% of 18- to 29-year-olds say there is a lot or some pressure, compared with 34% of those ages 30 to 49, 25% of those 50 to 64 and 20% of those 65 and older.

Young singles feel less pressure to find a partner from their friends than from other sources, but 18- to 29-year-olds are still twice as likely than those 65 and older to say there is at least some pressure from their friends (28% vs. 14%).

Over half of singles 65 and older say they feel no pressure at all from each of these sources.

Almost half of the public says dating has gotten harder in the last 10 years

Nearly half of U.S. adults (47%) say dating is harder today for most people compared with 10 years ago, while a third say it is about the same and 19% say it’s easier today. In every age group except for those 65 and older, more say dating is harder today than say it’s easier or the same as it was 10 years ago. Adults 65 and older are about as likely to say it’s gotten harder (43%) as they are to say it’s about the same as it was (40%). Adults younger than 50 are more likely than those who are older to say dating has gotten easier in the last 10 years: 27% of those ages 18 to 29 and 21% of those ages 30 to 49 say it has gotten easier, compared with 15% each of those 50 to 64 and 65 and older.

Women are twice as likely as men (26% vs. 13%) to say the increased risk is a reason dating is harder now. They are also more likely than men to say that it’s harder now because dating has become more casual (11% vs. 6%). For their part, men are somewhat more likely to say technology is a reason (15% vs. 10%).

Data in this report are drawn from the panel wave conducted from Oct. 16 to Oct. 28, 2019.


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