Match’s 2017 Singles in America Survey – Part 1

February 28, 2017

singles surveyMatch’s 2017 annual Singles in America Survey is up – see it here. It’s a summary look and contains some pretty interesting factoids. But I like wading into the weeds with social science research, and Match was kind enough to share their source data with me.

In the next few posts, I’ll tease out some of the more interesting things I found while drilling down into the data. I wish I had even more detailed information – for example, they didn’t split their results by gender, which would have been useful.

In this post I’ll focus on the demographics of the 5,500 respondents and share how singles feel about first dates. FYI, the respondents were not culled from among Match clients; an independent research firm did the work.


The demographics were not what I had always assumed. Rather than lay them all out in detail here, I’ve highlighted the data most relevant to readers.


It’s not unusual to find more women respondents than men, but keep in mind it skews the data somewhat.

Male: 43%

Female: 57%


This survey includes all ages. And I do mean all ages – five of these singles are in their nineties! Only half are 40 or under.

18-29: 33%

30-40: 19%


This is actually a more diverse representation that most social science studies, which often take place on college campuses.

White: 68%

Black: 16%

Hispanic/Latino: 13%

East Asian: 5%

South Asian: 1%

Marital Status

Never married: 68%

Divorced: 23%

Widowed: 7%


Only half the respondents are fully employed.

Employed full-time: 42%

Self-employed: 6%

Unemployed: 11%

Student: 11%

Retired: 17%


The student population accounts for only about a quarter of those surveyed who fell below the median personal income in the U.S., just over 30K.

0 – 15K: 18%

15 – 30K: 22%

30 – 45K: 18%

45 – 75K: 24%

Relationship Status

Single, not seeing anyone: 84%

Casually dating one or more people: 16%


As you can see, this group is very diverse on several fronts. They’re older than most dating survey participants. They’re less employed and consequently less affluent. Only two-thirds have never been married. We can’t control for these individual factors as we interpret the data, so it’s important to keep these demographics in mind. For example, 12% of the group is over 65 – that may translate into different attitudes about sex. Yet it’s hard to say exactly how – older folks might be more conservative but that group also includes the wild and crazy Baby Boomers, who had more sexual partners than today’s Millennials.

Relationship Goals

Attitude toward entering relationship:

Do not want: 19%

Not looking, but open to it: 47%

Casual only: 9%

Want one now: 22%

Dating one person now: 3%

Match’s summary notes that Millennials are 30% more likely than any other generation to want a relationship now. And 68% of men want to find a relationship this year.

And check this out:

#Dates in 2016

0: 59%  😯

1: 12%

2: 10%

3: 7%

4: 4%

5: 3%

6: 2%


#Second Dates in 2016

0: 64%

1: 13%

2: 11%

3: 5%

4: 2%

That’s a lot of people who want a relationship now who aren’t dating at all.  🙁  But Millennials are 30% more likely to have a first date lead to a second. And get this, confidence seems pretty high overall:

“I could easily find a date offline.”

Agree: 50%

Disagree: 50%

“I could easily find a date online.”

Agree: 61%

Disagree: 39%

Still, 46% of respondents agreed with the statement “I feel lonely.”  😥

5 Most Common Ways to Meet a Date

Online/app: 24%

Through a friend: 22%

Work: 9%

School: 7%

By chance: 6%  💡

That 6% “by chance” is worth thinking about. Keeping your eyes open and a smile on your face as you make your way among strangers is good strategy.

Attitudes About First Dates

“I like going on lots of first dates so I know my options.”35%65%
“I am very selective about who I go on a first date with.”86%14%
“I enjoy meeting new people via first dates.”63%37%
“I may have sex before an official first date.”34%66%

Millennials are 40% more likely to have sex before an official first date. That’s probably because they tend not to go on official dates, especially when young.

Top answers to: “I judge people based on…”

Social media posts: 42%

Grammar/accent: 40%

Teeth/smile: 37%

How they spend their spare time: 35%

When do you expect to feel romantic chemistry?

1st date: 34%

2nd date: 23%

3+ dates: 44%

74% of people say they begin to imagine a future with someone only after 4+ dates.

What are your impressions from this data? Any surprises? What do you think of peoples’ expectations? What, if anything, can we learn here about the state of dating in America? Let’s discuss.

In my next post, I’ll discuss where people flirt, and the physical locations where they meet the people they wind up dating. There are some interesting findings there – who knew the library allowed flirting?