Study Says: Sense of Humor 2nd Most Common Desired Trait. What’s the First?

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Advertiser Disclosure

This is an exclusive study conducted by, which surveyed respondents over the course of three weeks to reflect an accurate representation of the U.S. population.

How important are shared interests in a relationship? Having things in common is frequently mentioned when people are asked which traits they look for in a potential partner.

However, we wanted to understand the breakdown a bit better.

In our latest study, 50 percent of Americans said having things in common is their top quality when looking for a mate. Other qualities included money, looks and a sense of humor.

While men and women were pretty evenly split at 51 percent and 48 percent, respectively, the results show it’s homosexual Americans and older Americans who say commonality is what they seek most when dating.

Gay men and lesbian women were 12 percent more likely than their straight counterparts to choose similar hobbies and the like over any other trait, while Americans aged 65 and older were 54 percent more likely than Americans aged 25 to 34 to do so.

“Fifty percent of Americans said having

things in common is the top quality.” women’s dating expert Rachel Dack said she’s not surprised that commonalities ranked highest among all other traits in the study, as Americans emphasize them as a culture.

“Similar values, lifestyle preferences and interests are important aspects in healthy relationships,” she said. “It also makes sense that older Americans were more likely to rate this quality much higher compared to younger Americans due to the stages of human development, aging process and the tendency for our elderly population to value companionship over other relationship qualities.”

Having things in common also appears to be slightly more popular in the South. People living in states like Mississippi and Alabama were 23 percent more likely to seek this quality compared to people living in Midwest states like Indiana and Wisconsin.

Among the least likely groups to select things in common as their number one partner quality was Asian-Americans and low-income earners.

Only two in five Asian men and women said they want a lifetime mate who has a comparable lifestyle versus one in two Caucasian men and women.

In terms of income, those earning between $25,000 and $49,999 a year had a 17 percent lower likelihood of choosing things in common as the most important trait they look for in a romantic partner than those earning more than $125,000 annually.

The study surveyed 1,080 respondents over the course of three weeks, balancing responses by age, gender, income, race, sexuality and other factors in order to accurately represent the U.S. population. The study has a margin of error of +/- 2.8%.

The Breakdown: Americans Who Look for Things in Common

By gender:

  • Male: 48%
  • Female: 51%

By sexuality:

  • Straight: 50%
  • Gay: 56%

By marital status:

  • Single, Never Married: 47%
  • Married: 50%
  • Divorced: 54%

By age:

  • 18 to 24: 43%
  • 25 to 34: 39%
  • 35 to 44: 53%
  • 45 to 54: 51%
  • 54 to 64: 51%
  • 65 and older: 60%

By race:

  • White: 51%
  • African-American: 45%
  • Hispanic: 46%
  • Asian: 42%

By income:

  • Under $25,000: 49%
  • $25,000 to $49,999: 46%
  • $50,000 to $74,999: 48%
  • $75,000 to $99,999: 47%
  • $100,000 to $124,999: 48%
  • $125,000 or higher: 54%

By region:

  • Northeast: 48%
  • Midwest: 44%
  • South: 54%
  • West: 50% for more research on dating and relationship topics.

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