2021

Goodbye, 2021: Here's What Americans Googled Most This Year

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

From Sen. Bernie Sanders' cozy mittens on Inauguration Day and TikTok's viral pasta to mental health and COVID-19 vaccines — 2021 was a year unlike any other.

Internet searches give a glimpse into what the world is interested in and paint a picture of a society’s collective identity.

Each year, Google releases its top-searched terms and phrases, sorted by categories like celebrities, current events, athletes, food and culture.

2020 was a year defined by COVID-19, but this year as the world navigated a second year of the pandemic, we saw renewed interest in mental health, sports and entertainment.

Other top searches show the lighter side of 2021 – like this pasta recipe that went viral on TikTok (and was the top searched recipe in the U.S. this year) and Americans’ apparent fascination with who actor Pete Davidson is dating.

Here’s a look at some of this year’s search highlights, according to Google.

Mental Health

Two terms that were top of mind for many this year – mental health and healing.

Google data shows “healing,” “how to maintain mental health,” “doomscrolling” and “affirmations” were searched more across the globe this year than ever before, this data coinciding with the pandemic, unemployment and workplace burnout.

The phrases “how to be happy alone” and “how to be more mindful” were also top searches among Americans in 2021, the data shows.

Current Events

Many of this year’s top Google searches align with the year’s biggest stories – COVID-19, the disappearance of Gabby Petito and the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.

The phrase “missing indigenous women” was searched more in 2021 than years past, a trend that can be linked to media coverage of Petito, the young white woman who disappeared – and was later found dead – while traveling with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie

The case shined a light on “missing white woman syndrome,” pointing toward the differences in news coverage between white women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community.

Petito and Laundrie were two of the top Google searches in 2021.

Other top news searches of the year include the Rittenhouse trial, the Georgia Senate race, federal stimulus checks and AMC stock.

Celebrities, Memes (And More)

Taylor Swift’s re-released song “All Too Well,” Olivia Rodrigo’s “drivers license” and “good 4 u” and Adele’s “Easy On Me” topped the list of most-searched songs in 2021, marking a year seemingly defined by heartbreak, romance and teenage nostalgia, musically speaking. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders' mittens were the top searched meme of the year. (Who can forget this viral moment on Inauguration Day?)

“Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson” were ranked on the list of top five celebrities searched together in 2021 – this ranking surfacing after their relationship was announced in November.

As for the top searched television shows of the year, Netflix’s “Squid Game” took the top spot, with "Bridgerton" coming in at no. 2.

Golfer Tiger Woods and gymnast Simone Biles were the no. 1 and no. 2 top-searched athletes, respectively, in the U.S. this year.

Here’s a look at some of the other notable top searches in the U.S. in 2021 by category, according to Google. To take a closer look at the data, click here.

Athletes

  • Tiger Woods
  • Simone Biles
  • Henry Ruggs III
  • Odell Beckham Jr.
  • Aaron Rodgers

How to Help Others 

  • How to help Afghan refugees
  • How to help Texas
  • How to help India COVID
  • How to help a toddler with a cough
  • How to help foster kids

Near Me

  • COVID vaccine near me
  • COVID testing near me
  • Movies near me
  • Bars near me
  • Bowling near me

Searches

  • NBA
  • DMX
  • Gabby Petito
  • Kyle Rittenhouse
  • Brian Laundrie

Actors

  • Alec Baldwin
  • Pete Davidson
  • Shailene Woodley
  • Gina Carano
  • Armie Hammer

Memes 

  • Bernie Sanders’ mittens
  • Hamster
  • Twister Tea
  • Squid Game
  • Sheesh

Celebrities searched together

  • Kim and Kanye
  • Bill and Melinda Gates
  • Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson
  • Kanye and Jeffree Star
  • Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal

Recipes

  • TikTok pasta
  • Bacon jam
  • Birria tacos
  • Crockpot chicken
  • Hamantaschen

People

  • Kyle Rittenhouse
  • Tiger Woods
  • Alec Baldwin
  • Travis Scott
  • Simone Biles

News

  • Mega Millions
  • AMC Stock
  • Stimulus Check
  • Georgia Senate Race
  • GME

TV Shows

  • Squid Game
  • Bridgerton
  • WandaVision
  • Ginny and Georgia
  • Cobra Kai

Songs

  • “drivers license” by Olivia Rodrigo
  • “All Too Well” by Taylor Swift
  • “good 4 u” by Olivia Rodrigo
  • “Wants and Needs” by Drake
  • “Easy on Me” by Adele
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