EA interest: Google Trends [fixed]

by Jassi1 min read17th Jan 20203 comments



A very brief look at some Google Trends I found interesting.

Please refer to Peter_Hurford's post "Is EA Growing? EA Growth Metrics for 2018" for a more in-depth look at related data.

I wouldn't be surprised if many others (particularly those at orgs like CEA, 80k) track or frequently look at these data in a much more comprehensive way than this, so I apologize in advance for being ignorant of redundancy and/or posting the obvious.


Interest in "Effective Altruism" via Google Search since 2004. Note the y-axis refers to % of peak popularity, it does not reflect absolute # of search terms. Google allows you to search for "Effective Altruism" as a topic which encompasses many related search terms; this is not just the phrase effective altruism verbatim.

Interest in "Effective Altruism" in the United States, annually, from January 1, 2011 - January 1, 2020. Again note the intensity of blue does not correspond to absolute search counts, but to normalized, relative % of search.

I found this interesting because it confirms my general impression that interest in EA is greatest on the coasts. It also shows the progress that has been made since 2011! The question of where to focus efforts (double-down on hubs vs. try to spread awareness) has been discussed elsewhere and I am not an expert in that debate - but something to think about. I myself find it oddly unsatisfying that this whole diagram isn't blue... but admit that I live in California and am not helping the situation.

Interest since 2004 can be broken down into further subregions, highlighting the expected Bay Area hub.

Looking outside the US... interest in "Effective Altruism" globally since 2004. By country, and by city. Again, the expected hotspots here. For those like jahying interested in growing EA in regions like Asia, Google Trends may be a nice tool to track efforts (if not already in use).

You can play around with this yourself at: https://trends.google.com/trends/


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[The images don't load for me. What I usually do in these cases is to upload the image to github, and then add it to the EA forum with ![](imageURL)]

Whoops! Thanks so much for letting me know. Should be fixed now.

Given the timing of the "Effective Altruism" search peak (the week of March 12-18, 2017, if I'm reading my own graph right), I strongly suspect that it was caused by CEA's tenure in Y Combinator, which is popular in a way philosophical movements very rarely are. (For example, this Hacker News post about the launch of EA Funds came out on on March 16.)

This is also right around the time that visits to effectivealtruism.org peaked. However, it's notable that peak traffic for 80,000 Hours came well after the end of their time in Y Combinator.