Singles in America (SIA) Study

Singles in America (SIA) began in 2010 as’s annual scientific study on the attitudes and behaviors of single people in the United States of America. Every year, SIA surveys over 5,200 singles across various demographics, with recruitment based on demographic distributions in the most recent U.S. Census. SIA is funded and conducted by Match, in collaboration with Dr. Helen Fisher and Dr. Justin Garcia at the Kinsey Institute. SIA recruitment and survey collection procedures are administered by third-party companies. In Years 1 and 2, SIA data was collected by MetrixLab (then MarketTools), and in years 3 through 6, SIA data was collected by ResearchNow.

In the interest of clarity, here we describe current SIA methodology in more detail, including research procedures and participant recruitment. SIA data has been used in a variety of academic publications (see below). In initial years of publications and media coverage, SIA was described as a “nationally representative” probability sample; based on current social science standards and available methodological information, we now refer to SIA as a large national sample that is “demographically representative” and recruited from opt-in participant panels.

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Methods - Data Collection

Data were collected as part of the annual Singles in America (SIA) study. SIA is sponsored by the online dating company Match; however, participants were not recruited or in any way drawn from the Match population or subsidiary sites. Participants were recruited exclusively from those who have registered to participate in U.S. based opt-in research panels established by ResearchNow (Dallas, TX, USA). Panelists are initially drawn from a diverse pool of established participants who have been continuously recruited over several years from a wide variety of venues, including paper and electronic mailings, referrals, corporate partnerships, and Internet recruitment. Participants are recruited from these opt-in research panels, with recruitment targeting based on demographic distributions (i.e., age, gender, ethnicity, region and income) reflected in the most recent Current Population Survey conducted by the United States Bureau of the Census, and adjusted in real-time using inbound click balancing. The study also includes augmented oversampling of certain demographic categories, specifically homosexual (gay men and lesbian women) participants. All data were collected over the Internet.

Individuals on research panels within the sample frame received a recruitment message from ResearchNow that provided a brief description of SIA and invited them to participate in a questionnaire research study for financial remuneration. In the study confidentiality statement, participants were informed that they would not be contacted for marketing purposes as a result of their participation and that identifying information would be stored separately from their research response data. Data access and analysis procedures were approved by Indiana University’s Institutional Review Board.

SIA inclusion criteria required being at least 21 years (years 1 through 3) or 18 years (years 4 through 6) of age and being proficient in the English language. Inclusion criteria for participants’ relationship status varied slightly by year. Participants must have identified their relationship status as single, defined as not married, engaged, in a domestic relationship, or living with a partner. In year 4 (2013), all participants were unmarried—meeting the U.S. Census definition of single—but could have been living with a partner (9.8% of the sample) or engaged (4.2% of the sample). To ensure data quality, research panelists were required to verify their identity through a certification process, which employs validation technologies in real-time to identify and screen out fake, duplicate, unengaged, and unqualified respondents that may attempt to take a survey. Additionally, panelists were screened to ensure survey engagement, with those straight-lining responses or moving too quickly through panels removed.

SIA Publications

  • Garcia, J.R., Gesselman, A.N., Siliman, S.A., Perry, B.L., Coe, K., & Fisher, H.E. (In Press). Sexting among singles in the U.S.A.: Prevalence of sending, receiving, and sharing sexual messages and images. Sexual Health,
  • Haupert, M.L., Gesselman, A.N., Moors, A.C., Fisher, H.E., & Garcia, J.R. (In Press). Prevalence of experiences with consensual nonmonogamous relationships: Findings from two national samples of single Americans. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy,
  • Gesselman, A.N., Webster, G.D., & Garcia, J.R. (In Press). Has virginity lost its virtue? Relationship stigma associated with being a sexually inexperienced adult. Journal of Sex Research,
  • Gray, P.B., Franco, C., Garcia, J.R., Gesselman, A.N., & Fisher, H.E. (In Press). Romantic dating attitudes and behaviors among single parents in the U.S. Personal Relationships,
  • Fales, M.R., Frederick, D.A., Garcia, J.R., Gildersleeve, K.A., Haselton, M.G., & Fisher, H.E. (2016). Mating markets and bargaining hands: Mate preferences for attractiveness and resources in two national U.S. studies. Personality and Individual Differences, 88, 78-87.
  • Garcia, J.R. & Fisher, H.E. (2015). Why we hook up: Searching for sex or looking for love? In S. Tarrant (Ed.), Gender, Sex, and Politics: In the Streets and Between the Sheets in the 21st Century, (pp. 238-250). New York: Routledge.
  • Jonason, P.K., Garcia, J.R., Webster, G.D., Li, N.P., & Fisher, H.E. (2015). Relationship dealbreakers: Traits to avoid in potential mates. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(12), 1697-1711.
  • Mark, K.P., Garcia, J.R., & Fisher, H.E. (2015). Perceived emotional and sexual satisfaction across sexual relationship contexts: Gender and sexual orientation differences and similarities. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 24(2), 120-130.
  • Gray, P.B., Garcia, J.R., Crosier, B.S., & Fisher, H.E. (2015). Dating and sexual behavior among single parents of young children in the United States. Journal of Sex Research, 52(2), 121-128.
  • Garcia, J.R., Lloyd, E.A., Wallen, K., & Fisher, H.E. (2014). Variation in orgasm occurrence by sexual orientation in a sample of U.S. singles. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 11(11), 2645-2652.

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