How Americans Aged 50+ View and Interact with Dating Apps

Dating Apps

Dating App Research for Americans 50 and Above

When we think about the people who use dating apps, we tend to think about younger people. However, there are people of all ages swiping on dating apps in an effort to find love. Recently, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey regarding the habits of Americans aged 50 and older on dating apps. This is a survey they conduct roughly every four years. The results show some interesting data about the habits of this generational segment. 

Older Americans Swipe on Different Types of Dating Apps

One of the more interesting findings that came out of this research was that older Americans use very different apps than the population at large. While 46 percent of online daters in the general population use Tinder, only 19 percent of 50-59 year olds (and only 1% of those above 70) opt for this choice. In fact, swipe based services were not very popular among older Americans at all. Bumble saw use among just 6 percent of 50-59 year olds, 4 percent of 60-69 year olds, and 2 percent of those over 70. 

What were the most popular dating apps when it comes to Americans over 50 years old? The leader was Match, an app that markets itself more towards those seeking long term relationships, something that may be more popular with this particular segment of the population. Match was used by 53 percent of those 50-59, 51 percent of those 60-69, and 41 percent of those over 70. 

Another popular dating app for older Americans was eHarmony, which focuses on matchmaking for long term relationships. This dating app was used by 28 percent of 50-59 year olds, 30 percent of 60-69 year olds, and 38 percent of those over 70. This app was the second most popular among older Americans. 

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Older Americans Use Dating Apps for Many Reasons 

Another interesting aspect of the Pew Research Center’s study was to identify specific reasons behind the use of dating apps by older Americans. Many people may assume that this demographic group is in search of a long term partner. This is certainly the most common reason cited for using dating apps, with 49 percent of those over 50 seeking matchmaking online. However, it is far from the only reason. 

The second most popular reason for using dating apps among this generational group was simply for casual dating, which is only five percent less than those aged 18-49. Meanwhile, 22 percent of Americans aged 50 and up use dating apps in search of casual sex. Again, this was very similar to younger Americans, where 25 percent stated this reason. 

The big difference between older Americans and the younger generational groups when it comes to the rationale for online dating was seeking out new friends. While only 20 percent of those aged 18-49 used dating apps to find new friends, 30 percent of the older generation did this, making finding new friends the third most prominent reason for using dating apps among older Americans. 

Dating App Experiences of 50+ Americans Can Vary by Gender

It is not surprising that gender plays a role in how people experience dating apps. After all, even anecdotal evidence will show that women and men often have very different experiences when it comes to dating online. Women aged 50 and older were much more likely than other demographic groups to have negative experiences. 57 percent characterized their dating app experiences as negative (17 percent very negative). By comparison, only 38 percent of men over 50 had negative experiences. 

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This stands out even when compared to genders in the 18-49 age bracket. This group saw 48 percent of women and 43 percent of men as having a negative experience. Thus, women over 50 are much more likely than any other group to see online dating as negative in nature. 

Women between 50 and 64 were also among the most likely groups to have experience with someone who appeared to be trying to scam them on dating apps, with 54 percent of users reporting this. The only group with a higher incidence of this was men between the age of 18-49, where 63 percent encountered a potential scammer. 

Men 50-64 were third with half suspecting a scam attempt. Those aged 65 or older were the least likely to report encountering a potential scammer, with only 41 percent of men and 38 percent of women reporting such an interaction. However, it may be that this age group is less likely to be able to spot the signs of a dating app scam. 

Older Americans More Likely to Pay for Dating Apps

Older Americans are much more likely to pay for dating apps than younger generational groups. Overall, 45 percent of Americans over the age of 50 have paid for dating apps. By comparison, only 32 percent of those 18-49 had paid for a service, revealing a rather large gap. 

Men are much more likely than women to pay for dating apps. Among daters 65+, 57 percent of men had paid for dating apps, a figure much greater than the 35 percent of women in this group who had shelled out money for online dating. 

For those between 50-64, 51 percent of men had paid for online dating while only 38 percent of women had spent money on dating apps. This trend is in line with the general population where men typically pay for dating apps at a rate 12 points higher than women. The gender gap among the 65+ generation was much higher at a 22 point difference. 

Pew Research Center Data is Quite Revealing 

While the typical dating app user is quite a bit younger, there are significant differences in experience for Americans over the age of 50. This age group uses dating apps differently in the specific apps they use, their likelihood of paying for apps, their likelihood of encountering scammers, and other interesting issues. Understanding these trends is important for knowing how older Americans experience matchmaking online.