Dive into the rise of LGBTQ+ events in America from 2004 to 2023, as portrayed by Google search data for 'pride' and 'drag show'. This article unveils the increasing popularity and societal acceptance of such events over two decades, influenced by media and cultural shifts, and resilient even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through detailed analysis, understand how Google Trends data reflects changes in American public interest and actual event attendance.
2023 search data suggests that Americans are increasingly thronging to LGBTQ+ events, accelerating a growth trend that appears to have begun in the early 2010's. This data reflects a cultural and political shift that has unfolded rapidly over the past decade, sparking debates in venues ranging from schools to corporate boardrooms.
The Cultural Currents Institute, a branding and technology public relations firm, reviewed Google search interest in the terms "pride" and "drag show". The search interest for both terms dipped by more than 50% at the height of COVID-19 social distancing, suggesting that a significant proportion of search volume for these terms is related to people considering attending a pride event or drag show. By using this data as a proxy for actual attendance, we can draw some interesting conclusions. It's worth noting that Google trends data is widely regarded as a strong source for measuring American public interest. According to a 2021 paper published in American Behavioral Scientist, Google trends analysis "has predicted the real winner in all the elections held since 2004."
In the graphs below, we use Google's proprietary system for displaying search volume. In this system 100 represents the moment of highest popularity for a given term. 50 represents half of the all-time high in interest, 25 represents a quarter of all-time highs, and so on.
The data presented clearly demonstrates a pronounced, steady increase in the search volume for the term "pride" over the past two decades. This trend underscores the growing interest in, and acceptance of, LGBTQ+ events in the United States.
In the early years, from 2004 through to around 2009, search volume for "pride" exhibited a relatively low yet consistent pattern. Interest peaked each June – the month designated as Pride Month – and then dropped back down for the remainder of the year. The peak search volume in June 2004, for example, was recorded as 31, which remained relatively stable for subsequent years, indicating a modest yet persistent level of interest.
However, from 2010 onward, there is a noticeable upward trend in the annual peak of search volume, indicating growing interest in Pride events. This growth is particularly dramatic from 2015 onwards, with a notable surge in 2016 (peak at 47), 2017 (peak at 52), 2018 (peak at 57), and 2019 (peak at 78).
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is strikingly clear in the data for 2020. The search volume in June was halved (34), likely due to the cancellation or transition to virtual formats for many Pride events. However, it's noteworthy that the search volume rebounded strongly in the following years. The peak in June 2021 climbed back to 64, still lower than the pre-pandemic years but showing signs of recovery.
By 2022, the search volume for "pride" reached an unprecedented high of 83 in June, even surpassing the pre-pandemic peak. The upward trajectory continues into 2023, where the search volume reached the maximum value of 100 for the first time, indicating that the interest in "pride" has never been higher.
The growth in search volume over the years signifies the increased cultural relevance and popularity of Pride events. The term "pride," initially searched mostly during Pride Month, has now become a part of mainstream conversation. It's a clear indicator of societal shifts towards greater acceptance and normalization of the LGBTQ+ community. The substantial recovery and subsequent growth following the COVID-19 pandemic suggests that Pride events have become a significant aspect of American culture that people greatly missed during the pandemic and eagerly returned to as soon as they could.
The data indicates that there has been a gradual increase in interest for the term "drag show" in the United States from 2004 to 2023, with some periods of rapid increase and sporadic decline.
In the initial years (2004-2009), the average interest level for "drag show" was relatively low, fluctuating between 6 and 16. There were notable drops in interest in March 2004 and November 2005, hitting 0 and 2 respectively. These might be attributed to cultural or media events during those times which redirected public interest.
Starting from 2010, there is a noticeable increase in interest. The average for this period (2010-2014) climbs to a range between 10 and 21. The term seems to garner more consistent interest during these years. The cultural shift towards acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community during this era might have led to increased interest in drag shows, as well as the growing popularity of TV shows that brought drag culture into mainstream media, such as "RuPaul's Drag Race."
In 2015, the trend starts to climb more steeply. From 2015 to 2019, the range increases from 17 to 39, showing a significant increase in interest over the five years.
The year 2020 marks a significant drop in interest, hitting a low of 16 in December. This decline could likely be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, where public gatherings like drag shows would have been restricted or cancelled to prevent spread of the virus.
However, the trend recovers and continues its upward trajectory from 2021, hitting an all-time high of 100 in March 2023. This may be due to a combination of factors including the end of COVID-19 restrictions, resumption of public events, and the continued influence of media on popularizing drag culture.
Overall, the data suggests that drag shows have become increasingly popular in the United States over the past two decades. While there have been some periods of fluctuation, the general trend is upward. This suggests a growing acceptance and interest in drag culture in the United States.
In this article, the methodology revolves around the use of Google Trends as the primary data source. Google Trends provides quantitative information about the popularity of specific search terms over a defined period. The system normalizes data to make comparisons between terms easier, with the highest point of popularity marked as 100.
The research focused on two key search terms: "pride" and "drag show". The objective was to examine the growth of interest in these two areas within the United States from 2004 to 2023.
Each term's monthly search volume was analyzed to identify patterns and significant changes. Attention was given to factors that could have influenced these changes, such as the annual celebration of Pride Month in June or significant cultural events. The impact of external factors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, was also considered, as it led to a significant drop in search interest during 2020.
To derive meaningful conclusions from the data, the researchers looked for trends in the peaks and valleys of search volumes. They hypothesized that the peak values each year likely correlated with actual event attendance or interest in attendance, creating a proxy measure for this factor.
This approach, using Google Trends data as a reflection of public interest and behavior, aligns with previous research cited in the article, which found that Google Trends analysis could accurately predict election outcomes.