Dating apps continue to rise in popularity as COVID-19 pandemic hits peak 


A survey that was conducted this summer found that 59 percent of 2,000 participants were considering a wider range of people as potential partners, according to The New York Times. Additionally, 55 percent were found to be fast-tracking new relationships more than before the pandemic.

This spike in online dating, and the openness of dating app users to consider a wider pool of potential partners, reflects the changes that society has experienced as a result of social distancing. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic now reaching over 10 million cases in the United States alone, many U.S. citizens have increased the amount of time they spend on social media in order to stay connected to others. 

Dating is very limited at this point, and couples really have to hold back on some of the activities they take part in during this pandemic,” said Dylan Parsley, a sophomore communications major. 

But despite limitations, people still continue to seek out romance. 


History of dating apps

Dating apps first began to rise in popularity when Tinder was introduced back in 2012. While online dating had started earlier in the 1990s due to the rise of the Internet, mobile dating rose to prominence in the past decade as The Atlantic reported. With more dating apps becoming user-friendly, people can now reach out to others in a more convenient way.

This has contributed to the increased usage of dating apps with the pandemic still at an all-time high. With people being confined in their homes, many have turned to online dating as a way to escape from the real world. It also gives individuals a chance to put themselves out there.  

People have barely left their homes in the past six–seven months. Everybody who is on this platform, in some way, is trying to get their stuff out there,” said John Thornton, a professor in APU’s school of accounting. “You’ve got to have an online presence.  Nobody is driving their cars anymore. Nobody is out on the street anymore.  They are seeing your stuff through social media.” 

Being able to express one’s passions and personality is part of the new trend of online dating.


Virtual bonding 

Data shows that people are experiencing negative effects on their mental health due to being quarantined, CNBC News reported. Due to this, more people are seeking ways to communicate with others.

“People are having deeper connections,” said former relationship coach Yue Xu. “People are bonding over maybe feeling alone, feeling helpless, feeling a sense of loss. So that initial bond is pretty strong, even though these relationships may not last.” 

This increase of personal openness in bonding with one other can be linked to the amount of time people have been forced to spend indoors.

Dating apps provide a way for individuals to communicate with others, and it helps them escape the struggles of being confined in their homes. They also allow people to focus more on the person whom they are meeting. 

“Because we have this dedicated time to find love, there are no distractions — you’re not a bar looking at people around you or looking at your drink,”  Xu explained. “Everyone’s more present and they are more conscious about the way they are showing up to these virtual or real-life dates.” 

 People now use video chat rooms and Zoom as a way to connect with others.


Young adults mostly use dating apps

The majority of people who have used dating apps are young adults, according to Pew Research. In that same survey, it reported that while adults in their 20s are the ones who have used dating apps the most, other generations have shown usage of this as well. As stated in the report, “While 48% of 18- to 29-year-olds say have ever used a dating site or app, the share is 38% among those ages 30 to 49 and even lower for those 50 and older (16%).”

This is due to the fact that younger people tend to be more active in romantic relationships in comparison to older people. 

However, another factor in the increase of people using dating apps is the generational divide between the younger and older generations. Gen Z, in particular, has grown up in an age where everything is digital.

“The 18-year-olds joining the app now, unlike their predecessors who joined in 2012, have grown up immersed in social media apps and see that virtual world as something quite natural,” said Elie Seidman, chief executive of Tinder. “For this generation online matches aren’t just about organizing a meet-up in real life, they are about having fulfilling online experiences too.”

Despite current-day difficulties, it is evident that humans are still striving to find companionship, even if it is through different means.