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Google Trends: Depression and Bankruptcy

I've always been a fan of Google Trends (Who can resist searching for soul crushing realizations as to what our society has become?) and have actively used the feature for entertainment purposes since I was first introduced to it awhile back.

While I could spend hours looking at statistical relationships among search queries on the site (how sad), most of the time I only browse briefly, expecting to find mundane results with little application. Every so often though, you fall onto an interesting trend that just can't be excused. The other night, I was messing around on Google Trends while watching Saturday Night Live when I compared depression vs. bankruptcy. Needless to say, the results were more than intriguing.

See it? It isn't huge but looking at the last 12 months (as well as a mild spike right in mid 2007), an obvious... erm... trend seemed to exist. Feeling my interest peak, I decided to focus the scope to just the last 12 months for all regions.

Yup, a relation definitely exists there. While search queries for depression were obviously higher due to the wide range of causes for it, looking at the overall trend shows a basic statistical parallel in the number of search queries for both depression and bankruptcy in the last 12 months alone. Specifically looking from October 2008 to January 2009, the connection is there in plain sight with obvious peaks and dips running in relation to one another. Now I'm not going to claim any sort of cause and effect with this (correlation does not imply causation); however, you can't deny the obvious relation between search queries for the two.

Narrowing my search even more to just within the last 30 days, I found an even clearer example of the trend between the two search queries. Just look at those curves.

*This could also be seen when limiting the region to only that of the United States.

Knowing several individuals and family who have gone through the process of bankruptcy, I can say that I completely understand how the two relate so closely. In times where many people are struggling to stay in their homes and out of severe financial debt, I wouldn't be surprised if this trend continues becoming more apparent in the coming months. Let's just hope Google's search results for depression are helpful.

1 comment:

Gene said...

If you want to see a much closer Correlation, compare depression and economy.