Singles in America Study in 2011: “Interesting” to Say the Least

February is the month of love with Valentine’s Day in the air.  Millions of cards and roses are purchased this month alone.  Being relationship experts, we have to offer some insightful commentary to our readers and, as always, we aim to take on new angles and opinions to stir the mind. As we sat down to write this piece, we came across a recent study administered by one of the largest dating sites on the internet, Match.com: the survey is entitled “Singles in America.”  According to the administrators, it is “the largest and most comprehensive study of singles in the United States” and was released just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Dr. Helen Fisher, a cultural anthropologist who helped conduct the survey points out that there were surprising results that dispel long-held beliefs about singles, The study included 5,200 single men and women between the ages of 21 and 65.  Before we offer up our views, take a look at some of the juicy data that came from the survey:

–According to the study, 51% of men and 46% of women want to have children between the ages of 21 and 34, which are peak reproductive years.

–The study found that 54% of men say they have experienced love at first sight, compared to 41% of women.

–Ninety-six million Americans, or almost one-third of all Americans, are single. The survey shows that the happiest are those over the age of 65, among both men and women.

One of the first things we noticed after reading the results was that this survey takes into account only singles that are seeking their mate online via Match.com. One thing to note, there are more singles in America that are not seeking their mate online or via dating services like Match.com. As such, this survey is not a true representation of the American singles population.

With that said, there are some interesting facts to ponder here in 2011 with single men and women.  Unlike a lot of stereotypes about men being non-committal, single men are increasingly joining online dating services and match-making services seeking their future mate.  When these services started to pop up, most of the clientele base were women because men viewed such efforts/services as “below them” or even an indictment of their fragile male ego.  Dan and I postulate in our book, Men: 10 Secrets Every Woman Should Know from Two Guys that Do, that nearly all of a man’s decision making must filter through his ego. The clothes he wears, the friends he chooses, the car he drives and yes, whether or not he is willing to join an online dating service such as Match.com.  When reading this recent survey, keep in mind that it is measuring a microcosm of singles in America: those seeking a mate online.

A couple facts we did find more revealing for both men and women to keep in mind:

–31% of singles believe that “I love you” means “I want you in my life” and 30% believe it means “I care about you.”  Only 14% think it means “I want to spend the rest of my life with you” and 19% that “I want to have a committed relationship with you.”

This is great to keep in mind next time you hear those beloved three words.  Dan and I concur with this assessment and have heard similar feedbacks in our live events.  A very small percentage of men and women, regardless of age, equate the three words to spending the rest of their lives with that person.  Just think about how many people you have said “I love you” to in your whole life (not counting family and friends); likely more than a few relationships that did not work out long term.

Lastly and most surprising to us was that according to Dr. Fisher, “35% of men and women said that they had initially met someone and NOT found them terribly attractive and they later felt passionately in love with them.”  We have always maintained that people do have a tendency to grow in love with each other regardless of their first perception of the opposite sex.  This gives a lot of hope to many people out there that might have some attractive hidden traits despite their physical looks not being of model-status: like a sense of humor, intelligence, deep nurturing instincts, etc.  Like we always say, embrace your personality strengths and put them out for the world to see. This statistic furthers the motion of never judging a book by its cover.

All in all, the study does have some other interesting facts and we encourage you to check them out.  This study is not the end-all-be-all but it does show some trends in the online dating world to say the least. The study can be read at http://blog.match.com/2011/02/04/what-does-the-match-com-2011-survey-tell-us-about-singles-and-money/.

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