Charted: 2022's year of upheaval
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.
- The FIFA World Cup, which concluded last week with Argentina's victory — led by Lionel Messi.
- Ukraine, which continues to fight against Russia's invasion launched early this year. Americans turned to Google in droves to find information about Ukraine.
- The Powerball jackpot, which set a new world record for a lottery prize this year at $2 billion.
- Will Smith, who snagged headlines after slapping Chris Rock at the Academy Awards.
- 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.
- Russia's invasion of Ukraine gripped the nation and held people's attention for weeks as the war dragged on.
- The historic confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson, the overturning of Roe v. Wade and an attempted murder of Brett Kavanaugh, kept people Googling about the U.S. Supreme Court.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made waves during her visit to Taiwan, after the attack on her husband Paul Pelosi and when she announced she would step down from her leadership role in the House.
- Continued waves of migration at the southern border ... drastic actions taken by Republican governors such as Florida's Ron DeSantis ... and the anticipation of the end of pandemic-era border policies supported a steady level of Google searches about immigration most of the year.
- The year was again marred by devastating mass shootings, which took the lives of 19 children in Uvalde, Texas; 10 supermarket shoppers and employees in Buffalo, New York; and many others. There have been a total of 636 mass shootings this year — nearing last year's record 690, according to the Gun Violence Archive.