Cindi Filipek, 29, is a single mom raising her 4-year-old daughter in a small, quaint town in West Virginia. Juggling work and raising a child on her own, Cindi simply doesn't have time for an active social life. And she's not alone. In fact, there are more than 86 million unmarried men and women in the United States, according to Unmarried America, revealing a demographic group that could soon become the majority.
Over the past few decades the population of singles has been steadily growing with married couples now only making up 50.7 percent of U.S. households compared to 80 percent in the 1950s (U.S. Census Bureau). This expanded group of single Americans is also much more diverse than in the past-now comprised of the never-been-marrieds and a steady flow of divorcees and single parents.
So, why are so many people putting off marriage or remarriage? Over the years, the majority of people have come to focus more on their careers and inadvertently, relationships have fallen to the wayside. With hectic work schedules, demanding assignments, and never-ending deadlines, the task of finding a mate is something for which some people don't have time or simply don't make time. And, a single mom or dad's social circle is often not conducive to meeting other singles, and finding time for a social life outside of work and caring for their children can be difficult, if not impossible.
As a result, millions of singles-whether never married, divorced or single parents-are turning to the Internet as a fun and convenient way to meet people.
"Being a single mom, I found it hard to meet quality men and I honestly didn't have the time. Online dating was a great way for me to screen people and allowed me to get to know someone without even leaving my house," says Filipek. In April 2003, she took a leap of faith and met someone in person she had found and e-mailed with on Yahoo! Personals. Her daughter even joined them on their first date, and they all hit if off in this first meeting. Cindi is now planning a wedding for next year.
With singles from across the country all in one place, online dating services such as Yahoo! Personals help singles connect with people they might otherwise not have the opportunity to meet. And advanced search capabilities allow people to narrow down their prospects based on specific personal preferences such as location, physical appearance, and even income level.
"Online dating is very popular with busy singles because they can search for and communicate with people 24 hours a day, whenever they have free time," said Katie Mitic, vice president and general manager of Yahoo! Personals. "Thanks to the Internet, people with unrelenting schedules now have the opportunity to meet a wide variety of high quality people in a short amount of time, and have complete control over their dating experiences."
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