Over Half of Singles Admit to Lying on a Dating Profile – What They’re Hiding

It can be a bit of a scary landscape out there for singles looking to date online. In a world of catfishing, romance scams, and just down-right shady folks, you may be wondering who and what you can or can’t trust. While there are a lot of avenues to take to get to the bottom of that question, we wanted to take some time and look at one area in particular—online dating profiles. Are people always being truthful on their profiles? And if not, what are they lying about? Are there groups that tend to lie more than others?

Here’s what we did. We asked 1,000 adults in the US who had used a dating app within the last 12 months to see what they would be willing to admit to. Surprisingly (and probably thanks to the anonymousness of the poll), they were quite forthcoming and the results were eye opening—to say the least.

Key Takeaways – Lying on a Dating Profile Study

We wanted to start with a few of the bigger takeaways from the study. These are not all of the important takeaways, but just a few that we found to be most impactful. If you continue to scroll further down, you’ll find the full data, complete list of results, and everything we learned from this.

Here are the five biggest takeaways.

Infographic showing that 55% of adults aged 18-54 admit to lying on their online dating profile
Infographic showing that men admit to lying more than women on their dating profiles (60.8% yes versus only 48.6%)
Infographic showing that 33% of men lie about their age on dating profiles
  • 55% of adults aged 18-54 admit to lying on their online dating profiles
  • Men admit to lying more than women on their dating profiles (60.8% yes versus only 48.6%)
  • 1 in 8 women admit to lying about their weight on a dating profile
  • 1 in 5 men admit to lying about their height on a dating profile
  • 32.8% of men aged 35-44 admit to lying about their age on a dating profile

Table of Contents

Who We Asked – Brief Methodology

The study looked at 1,000 people aged 18-54 who live in the United States and who have used at least one online dating app within the last 12 months. Respondents were evenly distributed between four age brackets (18-24, 25-34, 35-44, and 45-54) with an equal number of men and women in each subsection. The study asked four main questions, three of which were single-answer and one of which allowed respondents to answer multiple answers.

The question we asked was:

  1. Have you ever lied about any of the following on an online dating profile?

The answer choice options were:

  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Height
  • If you have kids or not
  • Hobbies/interests
  • Income
  • Job type/title
  • Lifestyle choices (smoking, drinking, etc.)
  • Misleading photos
  • Relationship goal (casual, serious, etc.)
  • Relationship status
  • Weight
  • I have never lied on an online dating profile

Additionally, respondents were provided a list of 19 of the most popular dating apps and asked which of these they had used in order to give a better picture of the apps represented in the study. Here are the responses to that question:

Chart showing which dating apps were used by the study respondents

How Many Singles Lie on Their Dating Profile Results

The objective of this study was to determine if singles lie on their online dating profiles, how many admit to doing so, and what topics they lie about. Here are the overall results from the study. In the later sections, we’ll explore the results by age, gender, and specifically what things people are lying about.

Graph showing the Percentage of users who have lied on a dating profile

Key Takeaways – Lying on a Dating Profile

  • 54.7% of adults aged 18-54 in the US admit to lying about something on their online dating profiles.

Overall Results – Lying on a Dating Profile

Respondents
YesNo
All54.7%45.3%

What Things Do Singles Lie About Most?

The next thing we wanted to know about is what different things people were choosing to lie about on their dating profiles. While we couldn’t list everything possible that could be lied about, we did include a list of 12 of what our team deemed the most common or most likely things based on anecdotal research. Respondents could select multiple different answers (if applicable), or they could select none of the above.

Here are the top 5 things people lied about ranked:

Infographic showing the Top 5 things singles lie about online

Key Takeaways – What Singles Lie About Most

  • The number one thing that singles admitted to lying about on their dating profiles is their age (21.0%).
  • The top 3 things people lie about on their dating profiles are Age (21.0%), Hobbies and Interests (18.5%), and Income (16.2%).
  • The least likely thing for someone to lie about on their dating profile was the use of misleading photos (5.4%).

Overall Results – What Singles Lie About Most

AnswerYes, Lied About
Age21.0%
Ethnicity6.1%
Height14.8%
Kids6.7%
Hobbies18.5%
Income16.2%
Job10.6%
Lifestyle12.6%
Photos5.4%
Relationship Goals12.5%
Relationship Status10.3%
Weight13.1%
Never45.3%

Do Men or Women Lie More on Their Dating Profiles?

To take the data a step further, we wanted to look at the breakdown of who lies on their dating profile more by gender. Additionally, we have included the categories as well broken down by gender.

Graph of those who are Lying on a dating profile by genders

Key Takeaways – Lying on a Dating Profile Data by Gender

  • Nearly 2 out of 3 men admit to lying about something on their online dating profile (60.8%).
  • Just under half of women admit to lying about something on their online dating profile (48.6%).
  • The number one thing that men lie about on their online dating profile is their age (25.2%, roughly 1 in 4).
  • The number one thing that women lie about on their online dating profile is also their age (16.8%, roughly 1 in 6).

Want to see the data broken down more between men and women? Check out our detailed article on whether men or women lie more in online dating that shows specifically what topics they lie about more and contains the raw data from these questions.

Do Different Age Brackets Lie More on Their Online Dating Profiles?

The last thing we want share is the data on how many people are lying on their dating profiles and what they are lying about based on different age groups.

Key Takeaways – Lying on a Dating Profile Data by Age

  • The number one thing adults aged 18-24 lie about is their hobbies and interests (20.0%).
  • The number one thing adults aged 25-34 lie about is their age (22.5%).
  • The number one thing adults aged 35-44 lie about is their age (27.2%).
  • The number one thing adults aged 18-24 lie about is their age (19.2%).
  • Adults aged 35-44 were the most likely age group to lie about their ethnicity (8.8%).

Overall Results – Lying on a Dating Profile Data By Age

Answer
18-2425-3435-4445-54
Yes, Lied51.2%59.6%60.0%48%
Answer18-2425-3435-4445-54
Age14.8%22.8%27.2%19.2%
Ethnicity4.8%6.8%8.8%4.0%
Height16.8%16.0%17.6%8.8%
Kids5.2%7.6%8.8%5.2%
Hobbies20.0%19.2%18.8%16.0%
Income11.2%17.2%22.0%14.4%
Job8.8%14.4%12.0%7.2%
Lifestyle11.2%16.0%12.8%10.4%
Photos2.8%7.2%6.8%4.8%
Relationship Goals14.0%16.0%12.8%7.2%
Relationship Status6.8%15.2%12.8%6.4%
Weight10.4%12.0%17.2%12.8%
Never48.8%40.4%40.0%52.0%

Considerations About the Data

The last thing we’d like to do is share a few things that we think are important to remember about this data. While we do our best to ensure the validity and accuracy of the data, there are always caveats that need to be addressed in the spirit of transparency and completeness.

  • There are degrees to what a lie is that are not covered in the study. For many people, what constitutes a lie is a gray area. For some it could be something as simple as an exaggeration, whereas other people might see exaggerating as still being truthful. In future studies, we may consider asking a few more qualifying questions to determine what people believe to be a lie. This, however, would require us to set our own definition of what we believe to be a lie in this context.

Written By: Healthy Framework Team

The Healthy Framework team has a combined 50+ years of experience in the online dating industry. Collectively, the team has reviewed over 300 dating apps and is known as one of the leaders in the relationship advice and information space. The team’s work has been featured on The Economist, People Magazine, Parade, Women’s Health, Her Campus, and more.