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3 Stats That Show the Truth About Pandemic Dating

Young singles are in uncharted waters, dating during a pandemic. What has it really been like and what are they looking for? Our Finding Love Post-COVID data debunks some of the rumors…


For the last year, Gen Z and Millennials have been navigating modern love and dating in the midst of a pandemic. Quarantine has separated couples, pushed others to spend more time with each other than ever before, and created an even more complicated landscape for young singles who were dating and looking for love before COVID-19. If you thought dating was stressful before, the pandemic took it to a whole new level, with creating new, sometimes awkward, etiquettes and anxieties. Young people have been forced to step into completely uncharted territory of dating during a global health crisis and mandated quarantines.

There have been plenty of stories about romance and looking for relationships put out in the world during COVID, from social media meet cutes to claims that Millennials have been desperately scrolling dating apps to find partners during the crisis. But YPulse’s Finding Love Post-COVID trend report explored the realities of pandemic dating, looking at the real experiences of single Gen Z and Millennials—and we found that not all the stories about COVID romance have been true. Here are three stats that show the reality of pandemic dating for young singles:

The majority of young singles ARE NOT on the hunt for a significant other to quarantine with.

There is little doubt that the pandemic has increased loneliness among many young people, cutting them off from social circles and making in-person dating a rarity. YPulse’s research found the majority of young singles are not comfortable dating in-person during the pandemic. And it’s been widely reported that dating app use has surged during COVID, with Match Group, which owns Tinder, OKCupid,, Hinge, and Plenty of Fish, reporting that messages were up 30-40% across most of their apps in 2020 compared to the year before. But most Gen Z and Millennials tell us that finding a partner to weather the pandemic with has not been a goal, with 61% disagreeing that they have been the hunt for a significant other they can quarantine with. So, what’s behind the surge in dating app use? Well…

Over two in five say dating apps have made them feel less lonely in the pandemic.

YPulse’s research found that Gen Z and Millennials have indeed been turning to dating apps more during this time: 40% of 18-39-year-olds say they’ve been using dating apps and sites more often since COVID-19, while 43% of 18+ have been dating exclusively on apps and sites since the outbreak started. But they haven’t necessarily been swiping more for the reasons you might think. The number of young singles who say they are looking for a future girlfriend or boyfriend on dating apps actually decreased between February 2020 and February 2021, especially among young females. The number of dating app users who say that they are using them to find new friends has also increased during this time.  Instead, the increase in dating app use is more likely due to young people looking for connection and entertainment during quarantines and COVID. In fact…

Half of young singles say they have given up on love during the pandemic.

Over half (55%) of 18-39-year-old singles tell YPulse that dating during the pandemic has caused a lot of anxiety, and 66% say it’s less fun to date during the pandemic. Is it any wonder that half say they’ve given up on love during this time? Though digital dating has of course been on the rise, the majority (57%) say that a virtual video date is not a real date. They want in-person connections and they aren’t comfortable with in-person dating. But the reality is that YPulse’s Extended Singledom research found that many young singles—especially females—were already putting finding love on the back burner pre-pandemic, focusing instead on themselves and their careers during their 20s and early 30s. This isolating crisis certainly has not given them reason to start prioritizing their love lives. But there is a hint that we could see a post-COVID dating boom in reaction to this extreme dating dearth: 53% say that they will be dating much more often once COVID-19 is over.

YPulse Business Accounts have access to the full Finding Love Post-COVID report here, as well as the replay of our recent webinar on the research!