Dating Trends Shift Due To Economy, COVID

Dating Trends Shift Due To Economy, COVID

Dating trends are shifting in the U.S. as singles opt for cheaper and more intentional dates. The pandemic, the economy, and a changing cultural landscape, are having a prolonged effect on how people are looking for love.

One of the biggest changes is the relationship between dating and alcohol. A recent survey found that over a third of the people using the dating app Hinge are more willing to go on a sober date now than a year before. This is especially apparent among young people using the app, with 31% of 18 to 24-year-olds using Hinge saying they don’t drink on their dates.

The dating app Tinder shows a similar trend. From 2020 to 2021, references to “sober” went up 26% in members’ dating profiles, and this year it’s up another 22%. “Beach” and “picnic” references also went up from the start of this year, which might mean that people are more interested in outdoor dates rather than meeting at bars.

The non-drinking aspect of dating might stem from the pandemic and alcoholic recovery programs that a lot of people got into after lockdowns shifted their habits. When people returned to normal life, a lot of them noticed a potential problem with their drinking habits and took action to fix it. 

Another aspect of the shift is the state of the economy. Going to the beach or on a picnic is also a lot cheaper than buying drinks, and there is evidence that single people are trying to be more economical with their dating habits. Out of 3,000 people on Hinge, nearly 41% said they were more worried about how much dating costs now versus last year. OKCupid, another dating site, found that 34% of 70,000 users said inflation was affecting their dating life.

Money is also impacting the type of people users find attractive. OKCupid users who say they stick to a budget got 16% more matches and 7% more likes over three months than those who said they didn’t.

According to Match’s most recent “Singles in America” survey, which includes 5,000 Americans ages 18 to 75, 86% of singles want a partner with the same or higher income, which is up from 70% in 2019. The same report also found that more people are prioritizing someone who is emotionally mature over a person who is attractive physically.

People are also being more honest and upfront on their dates — something that Hinge’s director of relationship science last year called “hardballing.” People are being more open about what they want early in a relationship. A Mashable report suggests that since the pandemic, dates have also included more intense discussions, which has continued into this year. 

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