Dec 26, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Charted: 2022's year of upheaval

Editor's note: The axis has been corrected to show trends beginning in January 2022, not 2021. Data: Google Trends. Chart: Madison Dong/Axios

Inflation, immigration and the Supreme Court consistently held Americans' interest over the course of a year in which most news cycles — from Will Smith's Oscars slap to monkeypox to the death of Queen Elizabeth — burned hot and fast.

Why it matters: Axios' annual analysis of Google Trends data shows the rise and fall of America's attention in a year of global upheaval.

By the numbers: These are the five news events that generated the biggest spike in Google searches this year.

  1. The FIFA World Cup, which concluded last week with Argentina's victory — led by Lionel Messi.
  2. Ukraine, which continues to fight against Russia's invasion launched early this year. Americans turned to Google in droves to find information about Ukraine.
  3. The Powerball jackpot, which set a new world record for a lottery prize this year at $2 billion.
  4. Will Smith, who snagged headlines after slapping Chris Rock at the Academy Awards.
  5. A tie: Search interest in Queen Elizabeth spiked around the time of her death; and searches about Russia surged during the first week of its invasion of Ukraine.

What we're watching: Several topics were so momentous, they maintained high levels of attention for multiple weeks — and at times, multiple cycles.

Go deeper: Visit our past projects for 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

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