How People Meet Their Partners

“So how’d you two meet?” There’s always a story, but the general ways people meet are usually similar. They met through a friend. They met at church. They met through an app. Using the freshly released How Couples Meet and Stay Together dataset, we can see the most common ways.

Most Common Ways to Meet

Percentage of people out of those who were partnered.

Met Through Friend

Bar/Restaurant

Met Through Co-worker

Met Through Family

School

Met Online

Party

College

Customer

Church

Met Through Neighbor

Volunteering

Public

Blind Date

Military

Vacation

Work Neighbors

Singles Service

Business Trip

0%

5%

10%

15%

20%

25%

Met Through Friend

Bar/Restaurant

Met Through Co-worker

Met Through Family

School

Met Online

Party

College

Customer

Church

Met Through Neighbor

Volunteering

Public

Blind Date

Military

Vacation

Work Neighbors

Singles Service, Not Online

Business Trip

0%

5%

10%

15%

20%

25%

I’m surprised “met online” isn’t higher, at just under 10 percent. This includes dating sites and apps. I’ll have to look closer at age and the year people met in the next round. (Update: I did it.)

Respondents were asked an open-ended question about how they met and the researchers Michael J. Rosenfeld, Reuben J. Thomas, and Sonia Hausen manually classified each response. So people were allowed to describe more than one way.

For example, maybe a couple met through a friend at a restaurant, in which case two ways of meeting were flagged. Maybe they met at a family party.

Here’s the breakdown.

More Than One Way

Many times, there are multiple forces at work that bring a couple together.

Through Co-worker

Through Neighbor

Work Neighbors

Through Family

Singles Service

Through Friend

Bar/Restaurant

Business Trip

Volunteering

Met Online

Blind Date

Customer

Vacation

College

Church

Military

School

Public

Party

Through Family

Through Friend

Through Neighbor

Through Co-worker

Met Online

School

College

Military

Church

Volunteering

Customer

Bar/Restaurant

Party

Public

Blind Date

Vacation

Singles Service

Business Trip

1 in

1,000

1 in

500

1 in

100

1 in

50

1 in

10

Work Neighbors

1 in

1000

1 in

500

1 in

100

1 in

50

1 in

10

Through Co-worker

Through Neighbor

Work Neighbors

Through Family

Singles Service

Through Friend

Bar/Restaurant

Business Trip

Volunteering

Met Online

Blind Date

Customer

Vacation

College

Church

Military

School

Public

Party

Through Family

Through Friend

Through Neighbor

Through Co-worker

Met Online

School

College

Military

Church

Volunteering

Customer

Bar/Restaurant

Party

Public

Blind Date

Vacation

Singles Service

Business Trip

Work Neighbors

The diagonal represents those who met just one way. For example, the top left grid square represents those who met only through family. That said, when friends and family are involved, it looks like there are often multiple forces at work.

Shifts in How Couples Meet

Watch the changes over six decades. Meeting online now reigns supreme.

Notes

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