Is dating a global phenomenon?
Dating is a global phenomenon. However, it can be illegal or frowned upon in some cultures. There are many different traditions around the world that affect dating habits. For example, traditional dating is not accepted in at least 50 countries. Approximately 73 countries outlaw LGBTQ+ dating.
In this article, we will look at where dating exists in the world and at the specific laws or customs about dating in 195 countries.
Where Does Dating Exist in the World?
Dating exists almost everywhere in the world. However, there are different dating habits, customs, and traditions in different countries and cultures. These traditions evolved over the centuries.
Some traditions are also enforced by laws and punishable as crimes, including death. In other cultures, being caught dating is considered deeply shameful to the family.
Dating is most prevalent in Western countries and countries influenced by the West. By dating, I mean traditional dating.
However, many people of many cultures practice dating. Specific dating habits often differ, but dating definitely exists almost everywhere, even if dating is relegated to secrecy and online dating apps.
Where is dating most popular? (Selected list)
- United States
- United Kingdom
There are, of course, many other popular places for dating around the world. These are just a few.
Global Dating Statistics
It’s actually hard to find solid, reliable statistics on this topic.
There are plenty of articles from around the web, but the sources themselves all vary in how they define “global” and how they collect data.
There are different ways to look at global dating statistics. We’ll cover a few of those ways here before diving into dating laws and customs around the world.
The data on arranged marriages is very interesting. 55% of marriages worldwide are arranged. This statistic might be shocking if you grow up in a culture where arranged marriages are not common. In India, 90% of all marriages are arranged.
In some cultures, 48% of girls are selected for marriage before they turn 18 (some, unfortunately, as young as 12). They are likely to be married to a husband that is on average 4.5 years older in age than themselves.
In a 2019 study by the Pew Research Center:
- Three-in-ten Americans reported using dating websites or apps as of 2019 to find their partner.
- Most singles in the United States were open to the idea of dating people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.
- Premarital and casual intimacy is largely accepted. Open relationships or hooking up on the first date is considered more taboo.
Global Online Dating Statistics
According to Finances Online, the United States leads the world in spending the most money on online dating. People in the US spend a whopping $1.4 billion dollars.
India comes in second with $1.28 billion.
The top 5 countries for online dating:
- United States
- United Kingdom
There are roughly 1,500 online dating websites and applications. It’s amazing that there are so many different sites for people with specific needs! There is no shortage of ways to find your perfect match.
Tinder has 7.68 million users. Bumble has 5 million. There are over 1.6 billion people on Facebook, and 177 million have joined Ashley Madison by July 2015. Tinder made $1.4 billion in 2020. The total revenue from the Match Group (which owns Tinder, Match.com, and other dating apps) was $2.4 billion.
Dating Laws and Customs by Country
There are many cultures that view the institution of marriage as practical and feature arranged marriages, while other cultures consider love to be the foundation of civilized relationships between people.
That said, laws and customs on dating vary widely by country. For example, LGBTQ+ dating relationships are illegal in approximately 73 countries.
Check out this table for a broad look at dating laws and customs by country. For our purposes, I define dating as “traditional dating” where two people with romantic interests go out on dates in public. Dating exists in some form almost everywhere, but public dating in the traditional Western sense of the term is not always allowed or condoned.
Since customs, traditions, and laws often intertwine, I chose to focus on the popularity of dating (versus the law). The two concepts tend to align.
|Country||Is Dating Common?||Is LGBTQ+ Dating Legal?|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Yes||No|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Yes||Yes|
|The Central African Republic||No||Yes|
|Czechia (Czech Republic)||Yes||Yes|
|The Democratic Republic of the Congo||Yes||Yes|
|Eswatini (fmr. “Swaziland”)||No||No|
|Papua New Guinea||Yes||No|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||Yes||No|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Yes||No|
|Sao Tome and Principe||Yes||Yes|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Yes||Yes|
|United Arab Emirates||No||No|
|United States of America||Yes||Yes|
Best Countries for Dating
The best countries for dating depend on each person. Based on perception, here is a list of the top 10 best countries for dating as reported by US News:
- New Zealand
These countries are considered the best for dating because of the popularity and accessibility of meeting new people. Dating is not only allowed, but is socially accepted and encouraged.
These countries are also among the most popular in terms of tourism, which is a good indication that people from other cultures want to visit these countries for more than just culture or business opportunities.
Here’s a video with another view of the best countries for dating:
Worst Countries for Dating
Unlike the list of the best countries for dating, the list of the worst countries for dating is very objective. The worst countries for dating are the ones where dating is largely outlawed or shunned because of cultural or traditional beliefs.
Some people think dating is harder for men, but in these countries, dating is hard for everyone.
Traditional dating is very difficult or impossible in these countries:
- Saudi Arabia
Final Thoughts on “Is Dating a Global Phenomenon?”
Dating is indeed a global phenomenon. I encourage you to explore the world of international dating through tourism, dating apps, and even moving to another country.
The world is huge—go explore!
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like these other relationship posts:
- Is Dating a Relationship? (Fully Answered)
- Is Dating a Thing of the Past? (Answered w/ Stats)
- Is Dating Harder for Men? (Solved)
Sample of Sources: