The Trending Searches in 2021
Google’s data editor Simon Rogers once said, “You’re never as honest as you are with your search engine. You get a sense of what people genuinely care about and genuinely want to know.”
This look at trending searches for every U.S. state is a window into the topics people were truly curious about in 2021. From political tensions to meme stocks, and from Elon Musk to a devastating tornado, we saw a wide range of trending searches throughout the year.
In the above animated video, Reddit user u/V1Analytics pulls together the top trending search terms from Google’s 2021 Year in Search summary (for the period before mid-November 2021) and Google’s Daily Search Trends page (from mid-November to December 20th) to illustrate the daily trends for each state.
It’s fascinating to see what Americans were looking up this year.
Trending Searches Offer a Glimpse of American Psyche
In the year when COVID-19 vaccines became widely available, many Americans turned to the world’s most popular search engine to figure out how to come back to a life of normalcy.
In 2021, the search entries spoke to people’s interest in alternative assets like cryptocurrencies and NFTs, as well as persistent economic insecurity, evidenced by questions about when they would get their stimulus checks.
Entertainers and billionaires trended throughout the year, and so did topics of significant cultural impact at those moments in time.
Here is a look at the trending searches of 2021 and when they were searched most:
|Dogecoin||January, April, May||Cryptocurrency|
|Power Outage||June, July, August||Society|
|Lil Nas X||March||Entertainment|
|Prince Philip||April||Famous Personalities|
|Jake Paul||April, August||Content Creator|
|AMC Stock||May, June, August||Entertainment|
|Hurricane Ida||August||Climate Change|
|Squid Game||October||TV Shows|
Notable Trending Searches in 2021
Here’s a look at a few of the notable searches that trended across the U.S. in 2021:
President Biden and Capitol
Unsurprisingly, the year started with news of the presidential election and the U.S. Capitol riot, as President Biden was set to take office.
In six states, however, the top trending search was still related to the Mega Millions jackpot, even as individuals stormed the Capitol Building.
One of the most sought-after games of the year, Valheim, came on the market in February, 2021. By August, it had garnered over 8 million users. The developing company’s new Hearth and Home patch has skyrocketed the game’s appeal even more.
In March, the U.S. government unveiled their plan to distribute the third stimulus check to Americans.
People started looking for more information about when they would be getting their checks and if there had been any changes in the amount they would receive.
Created in 2013 as a parody of Bitcoin, Dogecoin saw record trading levels in May 2021. This was in part due to Elon Musk supporting the cryptocurrency.
The Dogecoin market capitalization surged to a peak of $88 billion, worth more than three-quarters of the companies in the S&P 500.
After suffering significant losses due to the pandemic-related shuttering of theaters across the country, AMC Entertainment became a fan favorite of Reddit-based retail traders who drove the share price up beyond what most analysts considered reasonable.
AMC’s stock price rose by 95% in a couple of days, reaching a record high of $63 per share. This was the latest phase of the meme stock frenzy.
President Biden decided to completely withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11th, 2021, ending the longest war the country has ever fought.
As an immediate consequence of the withdrawal, the Taliban militia took over the country and the government. The event, which was broadcast in near real-time, caused widespread panic among the citizens as some attempted to flee the country.
What’s in Store for 2022
It’s going to be everyone’s best guess as to what the trending searches for 2022 will be. Based on the events that dominated the news throughout the year, a few predictions could be made.
Experts predict that we will be moving to an endemic stage of the pandemic, which is bound to profoundly impact how we live in 2022.
New trends, movies, TV shows, and even newer gadgets will surely catch everyone’s attention next year. It will be fascinating to see what’s on the minds of people in the coming 12 months.
Visualized: The Most Googled Countries
This series of visualizations uses Google trends search data to show the most googled countries around the world, from 2004 to 2022.
Visualized: The Most Googled Countries, Worldwide
View a higher resolution version of this network diagram.
Analyzing societal trends can teach us a lot about a population’s cultural fabric.
And since Google makes up more than 90% of internet searches outside of the Great Firewall, studying its usage is one of the best resources for modern social research.
This series of visualizations by Anders Sundell uses Google Trends search data to show the most googled countries around the world, from 2004 to 2022. These graphics provide thought-provoking insight into different cultural similarities and geopolitical dynamics.
A Quick Note on Methodology
The visualization above shows the most googled country in each nation around the world over the last couple of decades.
For example, the arrow pointing from Canada to the United States means that, between 2004 and 2022, people in Canada had more searches about the U.S. than any other country globally.
And since this study only looked at interest in other countries, queries of countries searching for themselves were not included in the data.
Finally, each country’s circle is scaled relative to its search interest, meaning the bigger the circle, the more countries pointing to it (and searching for it).
The Top Googled Countries Overall
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the U.S. is the most googled country on the list, ranking first place in 45 of the 190 countries included in the dataset.
|Country||Top Googled Country|
|🇦🇩 Andorra||🇪🇸 Spain|
|🇦🇪 The United Arab Emirates||🇮🇳 India|
|🇦🇫 Afghanistan||🇮🇷 Iran|
|🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇦🇱 Albania||🇮🇹 Italy|
|🇦🇲 Armenia||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇦🇴 Angola||🇧🇷 Brazil|
|🇦🇷 Argentina||🇪🇸 Spain|
|🇦🇹 Austria||🇩🇪 Germany|
|🇦🇺 Australia||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇦🇿 Azerbaijan||🇹🇷 Turkey|
|🏴 Bosnia and Herzegovina||🇷🇴 Romania|
|🇧🇧 Barbados||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇧🇩 Bangladesh||🇮🇳 India|
|🇧🇪 Belgium||🇫🇷 France|
|🇧🇫 Burkina Faso||🇫🇷 France|
|🇧🇬 Bulgaria||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇧🇭 Bahrain||🇮🇳 India|
|🇧🇮 Burundi||🇫🇷 France|
|🇧🇯 Benin||🇫🇷 France|
|🇧🇳 Brunei||🇲🇾 Malaysia|
|🇧🇴 Bolivia||🇦🇷 Argentina|
|🇧🇷 Brazil||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇧🇸 The Bahamas||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇧🇹 Bhutan||🇮🇳 India|
|🇧🇼 Botswana||🇿🇦 South Africa|
|🇧🇾 Belarus||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇧🇿 Belize||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇨🇦 Canada||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇨🇩 The Democratic Republic of Congo||🇫🇷 France|
|🇨🇫 The Central African Republic||🇫🇷 France|
|🇨🇬 The Congo||🇨🇩 The Democratic Republic of Congo|
|🇨🇭 Switzerland||🇩🇪 Germany|
|🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire||🇫🇷 France|
|🇨🇱 Chile||🇦🇷 Argentina|
|🇨🇲 Cameroon||🇫🇷 France|
|🇨🇳 China||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇨🇴 Colombia||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇨🇷 Costa Rica||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇨🇺 Cuba||🇪🇸 Spain|
|🇨🇻 Cabo Verde||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇨🇾 Cyprus||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇨🇿 Czechia||🇩🇪 Germany|
|🇩🇪 Germany||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇩🇯 Djibouti||🇫🇷 France|
|🇩🇰 Denmark||🇩🇪 Germany|
|🇩🇲 Dominica||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇩🇴 The Dominican Republic||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇩🇿 Algeria||🇫🇷 France|
|🇪🇨 Ecuador||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇪🇪 Estonia||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇪🇬 Egypt||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia|
|🇪🇷 Eritrea||🇪🇹 Ethiopia|
|🇪🇸 Spain||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇪🇹 Ethiopia||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇫🇮 Finland||🇸🇪 Sweden|
|🇫🇯 Fiji||🇦🇺 Australia|
|🇫🇲 Micronesia||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇫🇷 France||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇬🇦 Gabon||🇫🇷 France|
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇬🇩 Grenada||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇬🇪 Georgia||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇬🇭 Ghana||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇬🇲 Gambia||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇬🇳 Guinea||🇫🇷 France|
|🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea||🇪🇸 Spain|
|🇬🇷 Greece||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇬🇹 Guatemala||🇸🇻 El Salvador|
|🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau||🇵🇹 Portugal|
|🇬🇾 Guyana||🇮🇳 India|
|🇭🇳 Honduras||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇭🇷 Croatia||🇩🇪 Germany|
|🇭🇹 Haiti||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇭🇺 Hungary||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇮🇩 Indonesia||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇮🇪 Ireland||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇮🇱 Israel||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇮🇳 India||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇮🇶 Iraq||🇹🇷 Turkey|
|🇮🇷 Iran||🇹🇷 Turkey|
|🇮🇸 Iceland||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇮🇹 Italy||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇯🇲 Jamaica||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇯🇴 Jordan||🇪🇬 Egypt|
|🇯🇵 Japan||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇰🇪 Kenya||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇰🇭 Cambodia||🇹🇭 Thailand|
|🇰🇮 Kiribati||🇫🇯 Fiji|
|🇰🇲 Comoros||🇫🇷 France|
|🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and Nevis||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇰🇵 North Korea||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇰🇷 South Korea||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇰🇼 Kuwait||🇮🇳 India|
|🇰🇿 Kazakhstan||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇱🇦 Laos||🇹🇭 Thailand|
|🇱🇧 Lebanon||🇸🇾 Syria|
|🇱🇨 Saint Lucia||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇱🇮 Liechtenstein||🇨🇭 Switzerland|
|🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||🇮🇳 India|
|🇱🇷 Liberia||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇱🇸 Lesotho||🇿🇦 South Africa|
|🇱🇹 Lithuania||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇱🇺 Luxembourg||🇫🇷 France|
|🇱🇻 Latvia||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇱🇾 Libya||🇪🇬 Egypt|
|🇲🇦 Morocco||🇫🇷 France|
|🇲🇨 Monaco||🇫🇷 France|
|🇲🇩 Moldova||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇲🇪 Montenegro||🇷🇸 Serbia|
|🇲🇬 Madagascar||🇫🇷 France|
|🇲🇰 Republic of North Macedonia||🇷🇸 Serbia|
|🇲🇱 Mali||🇫🇷 France|
|🇲🇲 Myanmar||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇲🇳 Mongolia||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇲🇷 Mauritania||🇫🇷 France|
|🇲🇹 Malta||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇲🇺 Mauritius||🇮🇳 India|
|🇲🇻 Maldives||🇮🇳 India|
|🇲🇼 Malawi||🇿🇦 South Africa|
|🇲🇽 Mexico||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇲🇾 Malaysia||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇲🇿 Mozambique||🇧🇷 Brazil|
|🇳🇪 The Niger||🇫🇷 France|
|🇳🇬 Nigeria||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇳🇮 Nicaragua||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇳🇱 The Netherlands||🇩🇪 Germany|
|🇳🇴 Norway||🇸🇪 Sweden|
|🇳🇵 Nepal||🇮🇳 India|
|🇳🇿 New Zealand||🇦🇺 Australia|
|🇴🇲 Oman||🇮🇳 India|
|🇵🇦 Panama||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇵🇪 Peru||🇪🇸 Spain|
|🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea||🇦🇺 Australia|
|🇵🇭 The Philippines||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇵🇰 Pakistan||🇮🇳 India|
|🇵🇱 Poland||🇩🇪 Germany|
|🇵🇸 Palestine||🇮🇱 Israel|
|🇵🇹 Portugal||🇧🇷 Brazil|
|🇵🇾 Paraguay||🇦🇷 Argentina|
|🇶🇦 Qatar||🇮🇳 India|
|🇷🇴 Romania||🇮🇹 Italy|
|🇷🇸 Serbia||🇽🇰 Kosovo|
|🇷🇺 Russia||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇷🇼 Rwanda||🇺🇬 Uganda|
|🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||🇪🇬 Egypt|
|🇸🇧 Solomon Islands||🇦🇺 Australia|
|🇸🇨 Seychelles||🇮🇳 India|
|🇸🇩 Sudan||🇪🇬 Egypt|
|🇸🇪 Sweden||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇸🇮 Slovenia||🇭🇷 Croatia|
|🇸🇰 Slovakia||🇨🇿 Czechia|
|🇸🇱 Sierra Leone||🇬🇳 Guinea|
|🇸🇲 San Marino||🇮🇹 Italy|
|🇸🇳 Senegal||🇫🇷 France|
|🇸🇴 Somalia||🇮🇳 India|
|🇸🇷 Suriname||🇳🇱 The Netherlands|
|🇸🇸 South Sudan||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇸🇹 Sao Tome and Principe||🇵🇹 Portugal|
|🇸🇻 El Salvador||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇸🇾 Syria||🇱🇧 Lebanon|
|🇸🇿 Eswatini||🇿🇦 South Africa|
|🇹🇩 Chad||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇹🇬 Togo||🇫🇷 France|
|🇹🇭 Thailand||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇹🇯 Tajikistan||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇹🇱 Timor-Leste||🇸🇬 Singapore|
|🇹🇲 Turkmenistan||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇹🇳 Tunisia||🇫🇷 France|
|🇹🇴 Tonga||🇳🇿 New Zealand|
|🇹🇷 Turkey||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇹🇼 Taiwan||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇹🇿 Tanzania||🇰🇪 Kenya|
|🇺🇦 Ukraine||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇺🇬 Uganda||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇺🇸 The United States||🇲🇽 Mexico|
|🇺🇾 Uruguay||🇦🇷 Argentina|
|🇺🇿 Uzbekistan||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||🇧🇧 Barbados|
|🇻🇪 Venezuela||🇨🇴 Colombia|
|🇻🇳 Vietnam||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇻🇺 Vanuatu||🇦🇺 Australia|
|🇽🇰 Kosovo||🇦🇱 Albania|
|🇾🇪 Yemen||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia|
|🇿🇦 South Africa||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇿🇲 Zambia||🇿🇦 South Africa|
|🇿🇼 Zimbabwe||🇿🇦 South Africa|
While it’s the top googled country in neighboring places like Canada and Mexico, it’s also number one in countries much farther away like Nigeria, Sweden, and Australia.
The U.S. is currently the world’s largest economy by nominal GDP, and one of the biggest cultural influences globally. However, it’s worth noting that China, the world’s second-largest economy and the most populated, had very little search interest in comparison, at least based on Google Trends data.
Zooming into Specific Regions
In addition to the network map highlighting the overall top googled countries, Sundell created a series of videos breaking down the data monthly, by regions. Here are the videos for the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
The United States
Since 2004, there have been a high number of searches for Canada, Mexico and India in America.
The searches for Mexico seem to be concentrated in the Western U.S., which is also where a large portion of the country’s Hispanic population lives. In contrast, searches for India seem to come mostly from the eastern side of the country.
The U.S. is by the far the most commonly googled country across Europe, ranking number one consistently over the last two decades.
However, Russia stole the limelight in 2014, the year that they invaded and ultimately annexed Crimea.
In the early 2000s, the U.S. held the top googled spot in Asia, but over time, relative searches for the U.S. go down. India stole the top spot to become the most googled country in Asia for a majority of the 2010s.
One anomaly occurred when Japan briefly took the top spot in March 2011, which is when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit the northern coast of Japan, causing a devastating tsunami.
What will future search results reveal about the global landscape? Were any of the results surprising?
Which Countries Trust Their Government, and Which Ones Don’t?
There is a clear correlation between trust in government and trust in public institutions, but a few countries buck the trend.
Which Countries Trust Their Government, and Which Ones Don’t?
In many countries around the world, vast portions of the population do not trust their own government.
Lack of faith in government and politics is nothing new, but in times of uncertainty, that lack of trust can coalesce into movements that challenge the authority of ruling parties and even threaten the stability of nations.
This visualization uses data from the Ipsos Global Trustworthiness Monitor to look at how much various populations trust their government and public institutions.
Tracking Trust in Government
Since the beginning of the pandemic, global trust in government has improved by eight percentage points, but that is only a small improvement on an otherwise low score.
At the country level, feelings towards government can vary widely. India, Germany, Netherlands, and Malaysia had the highest government trust levels.
Many of the countries with the lowest levels of trust were located in Latin America. This makes sense, as trust in politicians in this region is almost non-existent. For example, in Colombia, only 4% of the population consider politicians trustworthy. In Argentina, that figure falls to just 3%.
Trust in Public Institutions
Broadly speaking, people trust their public services more than the governments in charge of managing and funding them. This makes sense as civil servants fare much better than politicians and government ministers in trustworthiness.
As our main chart demonstrates, there is a correlation between faith in government and trust in public institutions. There are clear “high trust” and “low trust” groupings in the countries included in the polling, but there is also a third group that stands out—the countries that have high trust in public institutions, but not in their government. Leading this group is Japan, which has a stark difference in trust between public services and politicians. There are many factors that explain this difference, such as values, corruption levels, and the reliability of public services in various countries.
While trust scores for government improved slightly during the pandemic, trust in public institutions stayed nearly the same.
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