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Most Googled Terms of 2016 By State

What were residents in your state most curious about this year? Google knows.

As 2016 winds to a close, there are lots of ways to revisit the major happenings and hot trends of the year. One particularly telling way is to look at the most popular keyword searched in each state. This data brings us a treasure trove of information on what was top of mind in 2016, as well as insightful correlations that’ll pique your interest.

How did we gather this data? The great Google, of course, which publically pulls back the veil on the way we use the internet. Using Google Trends, the team at HSI teased out the top searched keywords since January 1st, 2016, then cross-referenced to come up with various correlations.

Some of the trending topics won’t surprise you. Yes, everyone was excited about the iPhone 7—really, really excited. And is there a person on planet earth that hasn’t watched Stranger Things? (Meekly raises hand.) Take a look at your state and the surrounding region to see if 2016 has any more surprises in store for you.


Top Five Trending Terms of 2016


1. It’s all About the iPhone 7

All across large sections of the South, it was nothing but tech bling all year long. iPhone, iPhone, iPhone. Searches for the newest version of Apple’s latest cell phone dominated not just in large states along the Gulf of Mexico like Florida and Texas, but also in Apple’s home state, California. It was officially the most-searched term in the U.S. for 2016, proving that there’s no major political crisis that some old-fashioned distraction can’t solve.

2. Stranger Things is All the Things

A little ‘80s throwback TV was just what the doctor ordered for most of the northern United States. 2016 was dominated by the Netflix original series, Stranger Things, especially in states where colder weather drives residents indoors. Why is nostalgia for things past so popular? Science says feelings of fondness for a romanticized childhood can raise our physiological temperatures several degrees. Seems that memories actually can keep you warm at night.

3. Election Mania, The 2016 Edition

It’s not surprising to see politics sprinkled liberally throughout the map on the most-searched topics of 2016. After all, it was an election year. Who were the most Googled candidates?

Hillary Clinton

  • Alabama
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania


  • Virginia
  • Massachusetts
  • D.C.
  • Connecticut

Ted Cruz

  • West Virginia
  • New Hampshire

Notice anything about those states? If you compare these results with an election map, you’ll see a startling correlation. In every state where a candidate was the top searched Google term, the voters in those states elected the candidate from the other party. In Ted Cruz’s case, he was resoundingly defeated in the primaries in both West Virginia and New Hampshire by Donald Trump. Could Google trend data be a better indicator of who will win an election than the polls? You decide.

4. Show Me the Money

It’s all about the Benjamins in a few places, where either Wells Fargo or Powerball was the most Googled term of 2016. To be fair, some residents might just have been a bit nervous about their bank balances since Wells Fargo’s scandal regarding phony accounts made the news this past fall.

5. Oh, look. Shiny

We are nothing if not masters of distraction and 2016 proves it. While the rest of the country was immersed in who might be the next President of the United States, many other states were downloading the latest viral game (Slitherios, unite!) or finding some show times for Pixar’s summer release Finding Dory at their local theater. While the internet might play a vital role in making big things happen, it’s also the engine of our daily lives—and it keeps chugging along, no matter how many elections might occur.

Strangely enough there were a few outliers, and they just happen to be … well, outliers. Both Alaska and Hawaii had unique terms that didn’t show up top of the heap in the mainland, like the Olympic Games and Pokémon. And what’s up with Adidas? Yeah, I’m looking at you, New York. Still all about the kicks, apparently.

Did your state’s most-Googled term surprise you? Share with your friends and see what they think about 2016’s top-of-mind internet terms. And let’s make 2017 great again by all agreeing to go back to Googling cat videos.


Most Googled Term by State

Alabama: Hillary Clinton

Alaska: Olympic Games

Arizona: Stranger Things

Arkansas: Quizlet

California: iPhone 7

Colorado: Finding Dory

Connecticut: Trump

Delaware: Slitherio

DC: Trump

Florida: iPhone 7

Georgia: iPhone 7

Hawaii: Pokémon

Idaho: Finding Dory

Illinois: iPhone 7

Indiana: Quizlet

Iowa: Stranger Things

Kansas: Euro 2016

Kentucky: Hillary Clinton

Louisiana: iPhone 7

Maine: Hillary Clinton

Maryland: iPhone 7

Massachusetts: Trump

Michigan: Finding Dory

Minnesota: Stranger Things

Mississippi: 123 Movies

Missouri: iPhone 7

Montana: Stranger Things

Nebraska: Stranger Things

Nevada: Wells Fargo Login

New Hampshire: Ted Cruz

New Jersey: iPhone 7

New Mexico: Wells Fargo Login

New York: Adidas

North Carolina: Quizlet

North Dakota: Stranger Things

Ohio: Hillary Clinton

Oklahoma: iPhone 7

Oregon: Euro2016

Pennsylvania: Hillary Clinton

Rhode Island: Powerball

South Carolina: Kahoot

South Dakota: Stranger Things

Tennessee: iPhone 7

Texas: iPhone 7

Utah: Finding Dory

Vermont: President of the United States

Virginia: Trump

Washington: Stranger Things

West Virginia: Ted Cruz

Wisconsin: Stranger Things

Wyoming: Stranger Things


Author -

Kaz is a writer, blogger and social media junkie. She uses her tenacity to investigate the best of the Internets.