The United States of Google: Mapping Google Usage by State

Online advertising company Chitika conducted research on which U.S. states had the highest use of Google's search engine; East and West Coast states including California, New York and Massachusetts were among the top, and more inland, Utah showed an equally strong preference.

Google Search Preferences by State

In the running for Google search engine use was Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland and Connecticut.

Some Southwestern, Midwestern and Southern states showed more use than others in their respective regions; however, Chitika said in no state did Google's share of desktop-based Web searches drop below 50 percent.

Through its research, Chitika was able to show a positive correlation with Google search engine usage and the following four variables:

  • Median household income
  • Rate of job growth by state
  • Bachelor degree or higher of user
  • Median age

That means, the more each one of those variables increased or decreased, so did the odds of Google search engine usage. The effect of each independent variable, for example, median household income and median age, is measured by holding other variables constant.

Here's a sample of what the data from those four variables look like:

Google Search State Variables

You'll see that certain states like Alaska show negative job growth, yet median income is on the higher end and Google usage is middle of the pack.

Chitika further explained the correlation:

"The correlative analysis provides insights at the overall level; the statistic is calculated using data on all the states. It provides a picture of the trend at the general level. As such, there may be some data points which may not exhibit the trend (positive correlation in our case), but at the macro level, the results of positive correlation are consistent."

As an advertising network that serves billions of online advertisements per month, Chitika collected data for this study from user agent info provided by web browsers when it served an ad impression.

Chitika said it maintains a database internally that identified the search engine by user agent, along with information about the state where the search query originated.

The data for all independent variables in this research was collected from the most recent Census, the American Community Survey (ACS) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Chitika said this could be just the beginning of its research on Google usage by state, as this initial analysis showed promise for a closer look to help enable marketers and advertisers to monetize investments more efficiently.

"Future research should expand on the model we have considered by including other variables which can affect Google usage rates, such as percent of population that is urban versus percent of population that is rural in each state," Chitika said in its report.

For the full report on Chitika, access that here.