That’s according to a new study conducted by sociologists Michael Rosenfeld and Sonia Hausen of Stanford University and Reuben Thomas of Arizona State University. It looked at data from the multiyear How Couples Meet and Stay Together survey and found that, in 2017, meeting online was by far the most frequent way people met their significant others. Some findings from the study:
- In 2017 39% of heterosexual and 60% of same-sex couples met online. That compares to only 2% of couples meeting online in 1995.
- Fewer couples are now also meeting through friends or family. In 1995 33% of couples met through mutual friends and 15% met through family. In 2017 only 20% of couples met through mutual friends and 7% met through family.
- Even relationship-forming hotbeds like your college years saw a decline in couples meeting during this time. In 1995 9% of couples met in college versus only 4% in 2017. That means in 2017 a couple was as likely to meet in college as they were in church.
- There are also fewer couples meeting through or as coworkers. In 1995 19% of couples met via work, but only 11% of couples met via work in 2017.
- The only place outside of the internet where couples meeting for the first time grew were in a bar or restaurant. In 1995 19% of couples met in a bar or restaurant. That number shot up to 27% in 2017.
In other words, if you’re looking to couple up before Valentine’s Day, hit the apps and bars, in that order, folks.