Within 20 years, ‘e-babies’ – babies born to parents who met online, will be more common than babies born to couples who met by traditional means.
This was the main finding of a new report from students at Imperial College Business School for online dating provider eharmony. According to the report, in the future meeting online will become even more common, with projections pinpointing 2035 as the year when more couples are more likely to meet online than in real life.
The ‘Future of Dating’ report was compiled by Weekend MBA students from the Business School, who used new eharmony research alongside demographic and population growth projections to examine the impact of technology on how people will find love in decades to come.
The report formed part of the Capstone Consulting Experience where students are given the opportunity to demonstrate the practical skills and knowledge gained on their MBA degree to solve a real business challenge for an external client.
The report finds that just shy of three million e-babies have been born since the turn of the millennium.
Over a third (35%) of online couples that had a baby did so within a year of meeting.
Couples who meet online most commonly have two children – with one in five welcoming this number of e-babies to the family (18%). This is closely followed by having just one e-baby (16%).
Men are also more likely than women to have children with a partner they met online (42% v 33%).
The future of starting a family
Using projections from current ONS birth rates and eharmony data, the report authors pinpoint 2037 as the year when more than half of babies born will be born to online couples. They estimate that by 2030, four in 10 babies born will be e-babies.
This growth in online dating has particularly accelerated over the past few years, with almost a third of relationships started between 2015 and the present day starting online (32%). This is almost a 68% increase on the period between 2005 and 2014 (19%).
In the late seventies and early eighties one in five couples met in the pub, nowadays just one in 14 do so (22% v 7%).
According to the report millennials (those aged 18-35) are further fuelling this trend with almost a quarter (23%) of their relationships formed online. This puts online dating way ahead of other methods among this cohort – including meeting at work (20%), via a mutual friend (19%) or at a bar, pub or club (17%).
Further research also reveals almost half of British people believe online dating allows for better matching, with 46% agreeing that it is easier to find someone compatible.
The report reveals that online dating has given more British people the confidence to date with 47% of those surveyed agreeing that the Internet makes it easier for introverted people to meet a partner.
Dr Paolo Taticchi, Principal Teaching Fellow at Imperial College Business School said: “The digital world has streamlined the online dating process – making it easier to find someone while ensuring that they match your criteria. According to the report, 2035 will be an instrumental year for finding love and begin a new era of twenty-first century dating.”
The research was based on a survey conducted by eharmony of a sample of 4,008 UK adults.
The survey found that 2.8 million babies had been born to parents who met online between the years of 2000 and the present day.
Article text (excluding photos or graphics) © Imperial College London.
Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or © Imperial College London.
Communications and Public Affairs