Singaporeans a lot more open to online dating, though 4 in 10 singles have never dated: Survey
SINGAPORE — Although the proportion of people open to finding potential partners through online dating avenues and mobile applications had roughly doubled since around 10 years ago, a significant number of single respondents had never dated before, a recent survey showed.
- The proportion of people open to finding potential partners through online dating has roughly doubled since around 10 years ago
- Yet, a “significant” portion of four out of 10 single respondents in the 2021 Marriage and Parenthood survey have never dated before
- On the other hand, the number of people who found their dates through their own connections has declined over the years
SINGAPORE — Although the proportion of people open to finding potential partners through online dating avenues and mobile applications has roughly doubled since around 10 years ago, a significant number of single respondents have never dated before, a recent survey showed.
The 2021 Marriage and Parenthood Survey, which polled more than 5,800 Singapore residents aged 21 to 45, also found that a limited social circle or lack of opportunities to meet potential partners were among the top reasons given by respondents for them not dating.
The National Population and Talent Division, a unit under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), which commissioned the survey and released the findings on Monday (Oct 10), described the proportion of single respondents who have never dated before as “significant”.
The survey, carried out from Feb to June last year, also found that although introduction through friends and work connections were the ways singles felt most comfortable meeting a potential partner, the proportion who really did so have been declining over the years.
The first Marriage and Parenthood Survey was conducted in 2004, with subsequent polls carried out in 2007, 2012, 2016 and, the latest, in 2021.
The surveys posed a range of questions asking respondents about their marriage and parenthood aspirations, concerns surrounding having children, and dating patterns.
Professor Paulin Straughan from the Singapore Management University and Dr Mathew Mathews from the Institute of Policy Studies had been appointed as research consultants since the 2012 survey.
Both told TODAY that the increasing receptiveness towards finding partners online has been seen from before the Covid-19 pandemic in tandem with the growing popularity of social media and online channels, though pandemic-related restrictions on face-to-face gatherings may have made such approaches even more pertinent.
Dr Mathews said: “With the country having experienced quite a few social restrictions during the pandemic, there was much fewer opportunities to meet new people and find potential dates.” Dating apps helped to fill that gap, he added.
The following are some of the key findings of the 2021 survey on singles.
‘SIGNIFICANT’ NUMBER HAVE NEVER DATED
- About half of the people who were polled were never married, and out of these, half of them were not dating at the time of the survey
- About four in 10 of the respondents who were not dating at that time have never dated before. TODAY has asked the PMO for figures from previous surveys
- Among those who were not dating, the top reasons given were that there was a limited social circle (58 per cent), there were not many opportunities to meet potential partners (57 per cent) and they preferred to leave dating to chance (48 per cent).
- Roughly four in 10 people said that they found it difficult to form romantic relationships, and a similar proportion said that they wanted to concentrate on their job or studies
OPENNESS TO DATING APPS DOUBLED
- In the latest three surveys done in 2012, 2016 and 2021, singles who felt comfortable meeting dates through agencies jumped from 25 per cent to 44 per cent
- Openness towards dating sites or apps also more than doubled from 19 per cent in 2012 to 58 per cent in 2021
- In general, about nine in 10 singles were comfortable to meet future partners through social or recreational activities, a proportion that had remained consistent across the period
- Introduction through friends was the way in which many singles were comfortable to meet their potential partners, with the proportion growing from 84 per cent to 88 per cent across the period
- Similarly, singles were also growing more comfortable to meet their romantic interest through introduction by colleagues, with the proportion rising from 78 per cent to 82 per cent across the three surveys
MORE PEOPLE FOUND THEIR DATES ONLINE
- About three out of 10 of the respondents in the 2021 survey who were dating found their partner through online channels, up from 7 per cent of those in 2012
- Relative to past surveys, the proportion of those who found their partners at school or through friends shrunk to about one in five (18 to 21 per cent), from about three in 10 back in 2012
- Meeting dating partners through work also saw a decline to 16 per cent in 2021, from 21 per cent in 2012