WASHINGTON, DC—According to Child Trends’ most recent DataBank indicator on trends among children and youth, the percentage of teens who do not date at all has risen steadily since the 1990s, but reached new highs in 2004. The shift in behavior is most pronounced for twelfth grade students, where the percentage of those who do not date rose from 14 percent in 1991 to 27 percent in 2004.
Among 10th graders, the proportion rose from 28 percent in 1991 to 37 percent in 2004. Between 2002 and 2004, the percentage of tenth graders who never date increased from 34 percent to 37 percent.
Teens today describe their dating activities as a progression from mixed-sex group outings, to pairing off within the group, to individuals going on dates with one another. Thirteen percent of 10thgraders and 27 percent of seniors report they date frequently (once a week or more).
Differences by race:
- White students in the 10th and 12th grades were significantly more likely than black students to date in 2004.
- Among 12th grade students, 29 percent of white students reported frequent dating – one or more times per week – compared with 17 percent of black students
Differences by age:
- In 2004, more than one-half – 51 percent – of eighth grade students reported never dating compared to 37 percent of tenth graders, and 27 percent of twelfth graders.
Differences by gender:
- In 2004, eighth grade females were more likely than their male peers to report never dating – 57 percent and 46 percent, respectively.
- Female students in the tenth and twelfth grades were slightly more likely than male students to report dating frequently – 14 percent versus 11 percent and 29 percent versus 24 percent, respectively.
About Child Trends
Child Trends, founded in 1979, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center serving those dedicated to creating better lives for children and youth.