In general, online daters themselves give the experience high marks.

Some 79% of online daters agree that online dating is a good way to meet people, and 70% of them agree that it helps people find a better romantic match because they have access to a wide range of potential partners.

Lonely people live all over the world and use any opportunity to get acquainted.

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Even today, the vast majority of Americans who are in a marriage, partnership, or other serious relationship say that they met their partner through offline—rather than online—means.

At the same time, the proportion of Americans who say that they met their current partner online has doubled in the last eight years.

Online dating is also relatively popular among the college-educated, as well as among urban and suburban residents.

And 38% of Americans who are single and actively looking for a partner have used online dating at one point or another.

Some 42% of Americans know someone who has used online dating, up from 31% in 2005.

And 29% of Americans now know someone who met a spouse or other long-term partner through online dating, up from just 15% in 2005.

Yet even some online daters view the process itself and the individuals they encounter on these sites somewhat negatively.

Around one in ten online daters (13%) agree with the statement that “people who use online dating sites are desperate,” and 29% agree that online dating “keeps people from settling down because they always have options for people to date.” Familiarity with online dating through usage by friends or family members has increased dramatically since our last survey of online dating in 2005.

People in nearly every major demographic group—old and young, men and women, urbanites and rural dwellers—are more likely to know someone who uses online dating (or met a long term partner through online dating) than was the case eight years ago.