Senior Dating Statistics
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In the U.S., a significant number of adults over 65 are not married. Despite this, there’s a prevalent misconception suggesting older adults are not interested in dating or should not pursue romantic or sexual relationships. Contrary to this stereotype, studies indicate that the desire for intimacy persists into later adulthood. Although the probability of dating does diminish as people age, many older adults still have a keen interest in establishing new romantic connections.
- It is estimated that 36% of all seniors in the U.S. are single.
- Among single seniors, only 22% report a desire to date casually or be in a committed relationship.
- Regarding online dating, there are significant differences across age groups. While about 30% of adults in the U.S. have used dating sites or apps, the usage drops to only 13% among seniors.
- 40% of seniors reported being sexually active.
- In 2023, approximately 1 in 3 adults ages 50 to 80 experienced feelings of isolation over the past year.
General Senior Dating Statistics
The 2020 Pew Research Center report on American attitudes and experiences with dating and relationships reveals that 36% of U.S. seniors are single. This means they are not married, living with a partner or in a committed romantic relationship. In particular, female seniors are more than twice as likely to be single in comparison to male seniors. This disparity in singleness between genders is influenced by two factors: Men generally have a shorter life expectancy and also tend to marry later in life compared to women.
In addition, the majority of singles ages 65 and older, most of who are widowed or divorced, report feeling no pressure to be in a committed relationship. This contrasts with adults in other age groups who often experience higher levels of pressure from family, friends and societal expectations to be in a relationship.
Furthermore, almost half of Americans believe that dating has become more difficult over the past decade. This sentiment is prevalent in all age groups, except those ages 65 and above. In these older demographics, individuals are almost equally likely to perceive dating as harder now (43%) as they are to consider it unchanged from 10 years ago (40%).
Dating Sites and Apps for Seniors
Many older adults are interested in dating casually or looking for a committed relationship, but factors such as retirement, relocation, the passing of loved ones and disabilities can reduce their social networks and access to potential partners. As a result, a growing number of seniors are turning to online dating to fulfill their needs for partnership and intimacy. According to the 2023 Pew Research Center survey on online dating in the U.S., 13% of seniors have used a dating site or app at some point.
Even though seniors report experiencing lower levels of harassment on online dating sites and apps in comparison to adult users overall, there are differences by gender. Women 50 years and older have experienced higher levels of harassment in all categories when compared to their male counterparts in the same age range.
In addition, more than half of Americans who have used dating sites or apps report encountering individuals they suspected of attempting to scam them. In contrast, this concern is slightly less prevalent among seniors, with 39% expressing similar suspicions. Interestingly, while younger individuals are generally more prone to falling for online scams, seniors are particularly vulnerable to romance scams. Experts attribute this to the fact that older people typically have more financial resources.
In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission reported that the median loss from romance scams for individuals ages 70 and older was $9,000, significantly higher than the $2,400 median loss experienced across all age groups.
Senior Dating Without Sites and Apps
According to Pew Research Center data, most seniors in relationships reported meeting their spouse or partner either through friends and family (30%) or at work (20%). Interestingly, these percentages align with the overall trends seen among partnered adults throughout the U.S. "Partnered adults" refers to individuals who are either married, living with a partner or engaged in a committed relationship.
Seniors and Sexual Activity
The common belief that all seniors are not sexually active or interested in sex is a misconception. Although the frequency of sexual activity often diminishes with age and adjustments may be needed due to physiological changes, many older adults remain sexually active.
The National Poll on Healthy Aging conducted by the University of Michigan surveyed adults ages 65 to 80 across the U.S. The poll presents the following statistics on sexual activity among the senior population:
- About 40% of seniors reported being sexually active, with a notable gender disparity: 51% of men compared to 31% of women indicated they are sexually active.
- The majority of seniors, 76%, believed sex to be an important aspect of a romantic relationship regardless of age, with a higher agreement among men (84%) compared to women (69%).
- Almost three-quarters (73%) of seniors expressed satisfaction with their sex life, with 37% being extremely or very satisfied and 36% somewhat satisfied. Interestingly, women were more likely than men to report being extremely or very satisfied (43% vs. 31%, respectively).
- In the past two years, 18% of men and 3% of women reported having used medications or supplements to enhance sexual function.
Loneliness in Seniors
The University of Michigan has conducted surveys among a national sample of U.S. adults between the ages of 50 and 80, focusing on questions about loneliness and social interactions. The “Trends in Loneliness Among Older Adults from 2018-2023” report, published in 2023, provides the following insights:
- In 2023, more than one-third of adults ages 50 to 80 (34%) reported experiencing feelings of isolation from others in the past year.
- Approximately 37% of older adults reported feeling a lack of companionship in the past year, with 29% experiencing it some of the time and 8% experiencing it frequently.
- A third of older adults (33%) indicated they had infrequent contact (once a week or less) with people outside their homes. The frequency of contact was reported as follows:
- 14% once a week
- 10% every 2-3 weeks
- 9% once a month or less
- Findings from the 2018 to 2023 polls consistently show a strong association between feelings of isolation, lack of companionship and infrequent social contact with diminished physical and mental health among seniors.
How does the rate of singleness among seniors in the U.S. differ based on gender?
There is a significant difference in singleness based on gender. Female seniors are more than twice as likely to be single (49%) in comparison to male seniors (21%).
Why do older adults often choose not to engage in dating?
Among single adults ages 50 and older, the top three reasons cited for not dating are: liking being single (46%), having other priorities deemed more important (38%) and the feeling that they are too old (25%).
What percentage of seniors in the U.S. are sexually active?
About 40% of seniors reported that they are currently sexually active, with a notable gender difference: 51% of men indicated sexual activity, and 31% of women said the same.
Where are seniors most likely to meet their spouse or partner? The majority of seniors in relationships stated they first encountered their spouse or partner through friends or family (30%) or at their workplace (20%). Interestingly, these figures are consistent with the trends observed among all partnered adults in the U.S.