Infographic of the Month: Questions on Life and Meaning People Ask Google

Infographic of the Month: Questions on Life and Meaning People Ask Google
Nayomi Chibana

Written by:
Nayomi Chibana

May 22, 2017
infographic of the month deep questions people ask google

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?


What’s on Your State’s Mind?

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:

  • Search terms related to the Catholic faith are the most popular in Louisiana
  • Queries related to Evangelical topics are the most popular in Mississippi and Alabama
  • Questions and terms related to Lutheranism are most popular in North and South Dakota
  • Queries related to Eastern religion are most popular in Hawaii
  • Terms related to zodiac signs and daily horoscopes are most searched in Washington D.C. and New York
  • Search terms related to Islam are most searched in Oregon and Kansas
  • Queries related to Hinduism are most searched in Indiana and Kansas
  • Terms related to meditation are most popular in Vermont
  • Terms related to non-traditional and non-Western religions are most popular in Alaska
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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.

most searched questions on google infographic methodology

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 Seeker65 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.


Other Queries Searched by Users

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.

Common Terms Across All States

Common Questions Across All States

  1. How to pray
  2. How to meditate
  3. How many muslims in america?
  4. Why did jesus die?
  5. How many books in bible?
  6. What is the meaning of life?
  7. Why believe in god?
  8. How to read palms
  9. What happens when you die?
  10. Reap what you sow


Most Popular Queries by 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

Connecticut: existentialism

Delaware: pentecost

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

Iowa: jainism

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


Your Turn

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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    About the Author

    Nayomi Chibana is a journalist and writer for Visme’s Visual Learning Center. Besides researching trends in visual communication and next-generation storytelling, she’s passionate about data-driven content.

    3 responses to “Infographic of the Month: Questions on Life and Meaning People Ask Google”

    1. Brandon Miller says:

      thanks for this

    2. Amanda Wiggins says:

      I am trying to research how many people are searching for happiness, how to enjoy their lives, deepening their relationship with God, loving themselves, overcoming their past, and understanding who we are as human beings. I have written a book about how I went from misery to loving myself and my life but I have no idea how to figure out if there is a market for it. I have never done any in depth research and everything that I have tried so far is not working. Any suggestions?

    3. Tiffany Howard says:

      Hello, I’m doing SEO for a spiritual organization and this has helped greatly. Thank you!

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