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University Relationship Statistics 2023

It’s a well-known fact, dare we say even a cliche, that many people meet the love of their lives when they’re studying at university.

Hey, it makes sense. You’re young, free, single, and mingling with people who share like-minded views and interests, all while enjoying a thriving social life.

Aside from blossoming university romances, there are also those who choose to maintain their existing relationships long-distance, and then of course there are the dreaded breakups and the university dating scene.

We’re here to take a brief look at some of the most recent university relationships statistics to see how things are shaping up for the next academic year.

We’ll be looking at:

Here’s five of our fave facts from this article:

1 - 20% of British students meet the love of their life on campus (Society 19)

2 - 75% of students are in long-distance relationships (Society 19) (EarthWeb)

3 - The significant number of potential partners to choose from while at university is the main reason why pre-existing relationships break up, according to this research. The greater choice also makes it easier to find the right person.

4 - 74% of Gen Zers use dating apps. (Briana MacWilliam) Now, they are the main go-to for Gen Zers looking for a date. (YouthSight)

5 - TikTok is starting to overtake Tinder as a place for young people to find love matches. (CNET)

University Relationships Statistics: an Overview

Here are a few general university relationships statistics, let’s see if any of them take you by surprise…

Long Distance University Relationships

Many students start their university life already forming part of a romantic relationship, usually with a partner that they met while in high school.

These days many people choose to move to a different city to study, while others go to a completely different country to do a study abroad programme. This sudden change in dynamics presents high school sweethearts with a tough decision to make: continue with the relationship, or break up before uni starts.

Choosing to maintain that relationship while at university, particularly if it becomes a long distance relationship, can be a challenging prospect. While their peers are free to meet others on uni nights out or form bonds with people on the course, a long distance relationship requires extra time and effort, creativity when it comes to communication, and a lot of dedication to the other person.

The rewards for the effort can be worth it though, as is borne out by some of the following long distance relationships statistics:

Keeping in touch with your long-distance partner is crucial to the relationship’s survival. Communication is important in any relationship, but especially so when you are physically separated from your other half. That’s where mobile phones and video calls come in.

How Long Do University Relationships Last?

When you’re at university, it’s easy to meet new people and form bonds quickly. After all, you’re all in the same boat together, sharing new life experiences, and it’s an exciting period in your life.

But just how long do those university relationships last? Let’s take a look at what the university relationships statistics say…

Gen Z and Dating Apps

Many university students begin their studies as singletons, with some choosing to leave behind relationships from school to go onto pastures new.

Others will experience their first ever relationship while diving into the adult world and the dating scene. One of the most common ways to meet someone these days is by using dating apps.

Whether you love them or loathe them, it’s an undeniable fact that dating apps have taken a foothold in the dating game, especially post-pandemic.

Before the pandemic, for 45% of Gen Z, dating apps were used as a pastime, “to have something to do”. (State of the Youth Nation)

Now, they are the main go-to for Gen Zers looking for a date. (YouthSight)

Gen Z is the first digitally native generation - that is to say, the first generation that can’t remember life before the Internet and the first to be born into our ultra-technologically-powered world.

That translates into dating - here are some online dating statistics related to Gen Z:

A study showed that having similar views and personalities is important for Gen Z when deciding whether to match with someone on a dating app:

Another survey by online dating service OkCupid echoed these findings. It seems that shared values are high up on the agenda for Gen Z when looking for a romantic partner. That’s also because Gen Z prioritises being accepted for who they are and finding someone who respects their identity and choices as autonomous individuals. (BBC)

But, despite being strong on the values front, Gen Z are a little less forthcoming than other generations when it comes to actually setting up a date or showing interest in someone, even when a match has been made.

Gen Z and Social Media Love

There is an emerging alternative to finding love using dating apps: social media.

Gen Z Dating Statistics: an Overview

How Gen Z Couples Meet

The way that Gen Z looks for partners is quite different to previous generations, with a greater dependence on technological aids such as apps and dating websites. The Knot reports that:

But if Gen Z are not meeting each other in traditional ways, perhaps that’s because many of them are simply not ready for a relationship or aren’t too worried about finding love:

How Serious are Gen Z Relationships?

What do Gen Z Look for in a Partner?

Gen Z and Sex

When Gen Z begin their university life, what do they have in mind? Well, recent studies show that it’s actually friendship that appeals to younger generations, rather than sex.

Here are some statistics as reported by the HEPI (Higher Education Policy Institute):

These statistics go some way in dispelling the stereotype that many people have of wildly promiscuous students having sex with multiple partners. It seems that Gen Z is rather more discerning in their sexual choices.

Even in Freshers Week, which is notorious for being a week of partying and hedonism, only 10% of Gen Z students expected to have sex during their welcome week, while 9% succeeded in doing so. Most were busy forming friendships to last. (Higher Education Policy Institute)

Perhaps that was why in recent years Gen Z were described as ‘The New Young Puritans’  by The Financial Times.

Friendship Statistics

Now that we’ve taken a look at the statistics for romantic relationships while at university, we thought we might as well take a glance at the other significant relationships you’ll make while studying.

Friendships are, after all, the basis of a healthy social life and, more often than not, it's the quality of your friendships that determine how well you face the ups and downs of the university experience.

For many people, the friendships that they form while at university long outlive the university experience itself. 60 percent of students said they were still friends with someone they met on their first day of university. (Yugo)

Making friends at university is easier than at any other point in most people’s lives. That’s quite natural when you consider that you meet like-minded people on your course, who share your interests. You also have that shared experience of growth, becoming independent adults together, which in many cases works as a bonding agent.

Having said that, how durable those uni friendships are seems to depend on geographical location and which university institution is attended. 82% of students who graduated from Lincoln, Liverpool and Glasgow said they were bad at keeping in touch with uni friends (Yugo)

According to the our own survey, the top 10 UK uni cities for making best friends forever are:

  1. Edinburgh
  2. Southampton
  3. Bristol
  4. Exeter
  5. Cambridge
  6. Lancaster
  7. Plymouth
  8. Bournemouth
  9. Nottingham
  10. Newcastle

So there you have it: a round up of some of the most up-to-date, insightful and interesting university relationship statistics.