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Be careful drawing conclusions from this data
December 4, 2008 4:50 AM   Subscribe

StateStats: Explore the popularity of search queries in U.S. states

StateStats shows you how popular a particular Google search is in each state. It also shows correlation with other state rankings such as obesity, income, or unemployment. Here are some examples to get you started, and remember that correlation does not imply causation and all that.

MetaFilter/Bacon
Porn/Church
Christmas/Hanukkah
Tequila/Vodka/Rum/Whiskey/Wine
Ghosts/UFOs/Bigfoot/Elvis
posted by sambosambo (40 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, the correlation of "church" and obesity is about the highest I've ever seen. 0.76.

But beyond the causation problem, there seems to be another issue here. Who exactly uses the internet1 to search for "church"? Would a regular churchgoer actually google "church"? I mean, the map does seem to correlate with my data-free prejudice of the Jesusland States, but I don't get why they are searching for "church". I suppose it must all come from searches like "church music" or "what's a good dish for a church potluck"?

1Which is another problem. Internet searchers are a non-random selection of the populace.
posted by DU at 5:13 AM on December 4, 2008


DU: A search for 'obama muslim' is pretty telling if you are wondering what the Jesusland folk are looking for online.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:19 AM on December 4, 2008


Pornography
Polygamy
Shotgun
Hurricane
Crunk
Jewish
Hunting
Fishing
Football
Pilates
Breakdancing
Fried
Work
Welfare
Unemployed
Corn
Coal
Murder
Suicide
Larry The Cable Guy
Jeremiah Wright
NRA
Carbon Footprint
posted by EnormousTalkingOnion at 5:20 AM on December 4, 2008


Apparently fisting is fairly evenly distributed nation-wide. Who knew.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 5:26 AM on December 4, 2008


I started playing a little game trying to see which searches light up only one state. I'd probably get more if I wasn't at work, but so far:

Massachusetts - Sandwich
Utah - Seagull
W. Virginia - Coal
Nevada - Poker

A harder game might be to see which searches light up all but one.
posted by sambosambo at 5:36 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hawaii - Surf.

Hipster is also good for just New York and Minnesota.
posted by smackfu at 5:49 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


> I started playing a little game trying to see which searches light up only one state.

The state name seems to work for most (I haven't checked all). There are some exceptions, like Arizona for which there are no results.
posted by bjrn at 6:02 AM on December 4, 2008


Abstinence

Kinda neat, but it flat out rejects certain words: God, Sex, Death, Faith. Are the results too large or just nonexistent?

Also, it reminds me of the delightful Missed Connections map.
posted by The Whelk at 6:08 AM on December 4, 2008


> I started playing a little game trying to see which searches light up only one state.
Joe Sakic for Colorado.
posted by philfromhavelock at 6:09 AM on December 4, 2008


I started playing a little game trying to see which searches light up only one state.

New Hampshire
posted by DU at 6:15 AM on December 4, 2008


Polygamy vs Polyamory
posted by DU at 6:21 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


The states of denial
posted by DU at 6:21 AM on December 4, 2008


I thought gumbo was universal. Dang!
posted by govtdrone at 6:26 AM on December 4, 2008


Sex.
posted by ShameSpiral at 6:53 AM on December 4, 2008


Sex

So are the bluish states low because they aren't interested in sex or because they have so , so much of it?

Oh Vermont, you little minx.
posted by The Whelk at 7:34 AM on December 4, 2008


"god" as a search term worked for me; it gives a 0.84 correlation with obesity, even better than "church". "atheist" has a 0.72, "christ" 0.71, "christian" 0.77.

Searches for "buddhist", on the other hand, is on the other side of the spectrum. It has a -0.71 correlation with obesity.
posted by fings at 7:57 AM on December 4, 2008


We're completely surrounded!
posted by speedo at 8:13 AM on December 4, 2008


RLOVEUTION!
posted by DU at 8:19 AM on December 4, 2008


I love you, Pennsylvania.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 8:20 AM on December 4, 2008


Michigan is currently no. 1 for these searches: bondage, slave, freak.

*books flight for Lansing*
posted by ShameSpiral at 8:22 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, Indiana...
posted by Thorzdad at 8:24 AM on December 4, 2008


I started playing a little game trying to see which searches light up only one state.

It's pretty easy to cheat by using city names.

There are some exceptions, like Arizona for which there are no results.

I think they are queuing up new search terms, and then running them in the background, so the results eventually show up. Like Arizona works now.
posted by smackfu at 8:24 AM on December 4, 2008


Be careful drawing conclusions from this data.

Voodoo
Top 2 states:
Louisiana 100.0
Mississippi 29.0

Linux
Correlation with Percent Elderly: -0.45

Seems pretty reliable to me.
posted by tybeet at 9:01 AM on December 4, 2008


Also.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 9:44 AM on December 4, 2008


I think we broke it.
posted by The Whelk at 9:55 AM on December 4, 2008


"Sorry, the load on this app is too high right now to process new queries. Try again tomorrow."

Damn. Very cool though.
posted by norabarnacl3 at 10:03 AM on December 4, 2008


It still works intermittently.
posted by DU at 10:43 AM on December 4, 2008


Beer

Wine

Coffee

Tea

Urban

Rural
posted by The Whelk at 11:15 AM on December 4, 2008


I love that beer is correlated to latitude, since that was always historically true.
posted by smackfu at 11:41 AM on December 4, 2008


I notice cock is least popular in Utah.
posted by vbfg at 12:17 PM on December 4, 2008


arugula vs. lettuce
posted by plastic_animals at 12:23 PM on December 4, 2008


Should I be surprised that myspace correlates most strongly with illiteracy...?
posted by flod logic at 12:51 PM on December 4, 2008


Cake vs Pie
For cake 9 of the ten top states are in the South.
For pie 9 of the ten top states are in the North.
posted by Rashomon at 1:08 PM on December 4, 2008


teh
internets
nucular
posted by plastic_animals at 1:16 PM on December 4, 2008


Wyoming is 1st and 2nd highest for bdsm and bondage, respectively, yet near the bottom for femdom and fetish. Hmm. Eeeenteresting.
posted by desjardins at 2:11 PM on December 4, 2008


This is my new favorite toy. Thanks!
posted by lunit at 2:26 PM on December 4, 2008


We're completely surrounded!

Ahem.
posted by dhartung at 4:21 PM on December 4, 2008


God. obesity, infant mortality, energy consumption, pro-bush
Jesus. tennessee wins
Muhammad. idaho loses, and kentucky wins?
Mormon. utah 100.0, new york 3.0
Jew. utah 35.0, new york 100.0
Poop. latitude?
Bestiality. alaska, pro-bush, suicide
Philosophy. probama, pop. density, nevada-loses
John McCain. obesity, illiteracy
Antarctica. alaska takes the frozen cake, frost correlation.
Anal. california, the unemployed
Peace. probama, antibush
Depression. +latitude
McDonalds. +obesity
Poetry. vermont wins, hawaii loses
Shakespeare. idaho wins, arizona loses
posted by ageispolis at 4:44 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Aversion Therapy, I noticed that the relative rate of
search queries for "fisting" by users in Wyoming is 100%.

Lies, damned lies, statistics and all that, but it still draws a delightful picture of Wyoming's populace.
posted by lekvar at 5:05 PM on December 4, 2008


I'd love to have this either bigger - for the world - or smaller - by county... But I guess we don't have the data yet.
posted by houshuang at 12:11 AM on December 5, 2008


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