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For many people, Google is more than just a simple search engine — it’s one of their closest confidants.
Beyond common searches such as “coffee shop near me,” users also turn to the seemingly omniscient search engine to ask deep philosophical and religious questions.
From searching for the “meaning of life” to “how to forgive,” people rely on Google to provide answers to some of life’s biggest questions.
To see for yourself, take a look at what each state Googled more than any other state in the past year (click on the Expand button to the lower right of the image or view the full-size version here):
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Who knew that Virginians were the most preoccupied with time travel or that Pennsylvanians were the most curious about heaven?
As part of a monthly series where we bring you an original infographic and explain how we created it, we sifted through hundreds of search terms in the Google Trends categories of Religion & Belief and Philosophy and identified the following tendencies:
Before we explain the methodology used to collect the data for this map, please note that the popularity of a term in any given state is calculated based on its fraction of total searches, not the absolute number of queries. In this way, a small state where 2% of all queries are for a specific question will outrank a large state where 1% of all searches are for the same phrase.
This means that the search query “is god real,” for example, was more popular in Mississippi than in any other state. This does not mean, however, that this phrase was the most-searched question in the state, or even the most-searched religious or philosophical question as there are popular queries common to all states which were excluded from the map above but are listed below.
To collect the data, we used Google Trends to find the most searched queries on life, religion and meaning in each state.
To do this, we created a list of the most common religious and philosophical questions and terms, based on these educational online resources: 101 Philosophy Questions, Religions and Belief Systems, 50 Religion Questions, 20 Questions for Every Spiritual Seeker, 65 Deep Philosophical Questions, and 100 Deep Philosophical Questions That We May Just Never Answer.
We then inserted these questions and terms into Google Trends to cross reference them and adjusted the settings to reflect only national data within the last 12 months. Using the Interest by Subregion data, we were then able to identify the state with the highest percentage of searches for terms, excluding those popular across most states, detailed below.
To further place information into context, here are the most commonly searched religious and philosophical terms and questions that are popular across the country, not just in a specific state.
Alabama: What is love? / how to study the bible
Alaska: sikhism / taoism / zodiac / baha’i faith /scientology
Arizona: how to read palms / pantheism
Arkansas: What is the meaning of life? / Why do we dream?
California: Why do we have to die? / Why do I want to die?
Colorado: heart chakra
Florida: what is my life purpose?
Georgia: What is nothing? / How to forgive
Hawaii: Shinto / Reincarnation / Feng Shui
Idaho: relationship between religion and science / priest
Illinois: Why do bad things happen to good people?
Indiana: When will the world end? / hinduism / confucianism
Kansas: hinduism / islam / koran
Kentucky: What do Muslims believe?
Louisiana: is masturbation a sin? / catholic church / how to pray the rosary
Maine: I want to die / carpe diem
Maryland: What is beauty?
Massachusetts: Is there life after death?
Michigan: What is evil?
Minnesota: Paul the Apostle
Mississippi: Is god real? / bible / what is love?
Missouri: where in the bible does it say that homosexuality is a sin?
Montana: What happens when you die?
Nebraska: what is hell?
Nevada: how to hypnotize someone
New Hampshire: What happens when you die?
New Jersey: Jainism
New Mexico: purgatory / astral projection / jehovah’s witnesses / How to suicide
New York: how to live forever? / daily horoscope / torah
North Carolina: What is consciousness?
North Dakota: lutheran church / trinity
Ohio: Does god exist?
Oklahoma: What religion is Donald and Melania Trump?
Oregon: Muhammad / muslim
Pennsylvania: What is heaven like? / What am I doing with my life
Rhode Island: past life regression / horoscope daily / nihilism
South Carolina: Who is your soulmate?
South Dakota: mortal sin / Lutheranism
Tennessee: What is truth?
Texas: Why does god hate me? / Are we alone in the universe
Utah: What religion is Melania Trump? / mormon / am I happy?
Vermont: chakra / meditation / buddhism
Virginia: What is knowledge? / Is time travel possible?
Washington: how to be a better person / atheism is unstoppable
Washington D.C.: Pisces / Sagittarius / Scorpio / Capricorn / Cancer
West Virginia: What is scientology? / How to kill yourself
Wisconsin: lutheran church wisconsin
Wyoming: vudu / l. Ron hubbard / yin and yang
Now it’s your turn to create your own map of Google Search Trends. You can create a free Visme account here and get started with interactive maps or infographics.
Do you have any ideas in mind you’d like to tell us about? Let us know in the comments section below!
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