Why is Michigan so humid? Boring? Poor? - Google searches reveal popular questions

Jul 16, 2013

Want to know more about what the masses think of your region? A Google search could reveal predominant stereotypes of your area.

If you're not already familiar with it, Google’s autocomplete function makes search suggestions as you type in a search term.

Most autocomplete suggestions are derived from popular searches by others. Although, suggestions can be influenced by your own previous Google searches if your web history is enabled.

We wanted to see the results for some Michigan-based searches.

Check out the image above and you'll see that Google autocompletes with:

  • Why is Michigan so cold
  • Why is Michigan so boring
  • Why is Michigan so humid
  • Why is Michigan so poor

Apparently people are most concerned with Michigan's weather - and some not so great opinions of the state's finances and entertainment opportunities.

A search for Ann Arbor yielded one suggestion:

What are online users asking about Detroit?

Apparently, people don't have many questions for Grand Rapids or Lansing. Google doesn't push any autocompletes for those areas. 

Syeda Hasan of WKUT in Austin wrote about autocomplete suggestions in her city and she found that while suggestions based on stereotypes predominate, popular searches about current conditions (such as weather) are also very common.

Current weather conditions probably influenced the search for "Lake Michigan" below.

Finally, searches for the two largest state universities reveal what applicants want to know the most:

Interested in seeing more results from other cities and regions?

Check out blogger Renee DiResta's map of American state stereotypes and a list of city stereotypes compiled by Nate Shivar, all based on Google autocompletes and popular queries.

- Julia Field, Michigan Radio Newsroom