December 17, 2013

What ails America? Dr. Google can tell you

Dr. Google’s waiting room was crowded in 2013. Online search has become an easy way for people to learn more about what’s ailing them, either to self-diagnose or find a remedy. Six-in-ten U.S. adults looked online for health information in the past year, according to a Pew Research Center report, and a vast majority began their inquiry with a search engine. So what are Americans searching for? Google today released its year-end Zeitgeist, including the most searched-for health topics of the year:

One-third of U.S. adults say they have gone online to try to get a quick diagnosis, according to our research. And, according to Google, here are the most common “symptoms” people looked for in 2013:

“Pregnancy” is particularly popular among the younger demographic, according to our data. Just 10% of U.S. adults say they have looked online for information related to pregnancy in the past year. That percentage jumps to 24% of adults ages 18 to 29. Even so, Google data show that there is a lot of worried – or elated – searching on the part of a relatively small group of people.

 

Topics: Health, Information Seeking

  1. Photo of Susannah Fox

    is an Associate Director at the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

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