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Tracking the Popularity of Astrology Around the World

Google released this fascinating program called Google Trends a while back that can be used to track search trends for various keywords over the past few years.  Basically, it displays different graphs showing how popular a specific search term is in certain areas of the world.  For me it is almost more of a novelty than anything, and you can’t really track specific keywords unless they have a high volume of searches, but when you track the keyword ‘astrology’ using Google Trends some interesting results start to come up.

The data that Google Trends gives you can be filtered by certain criteria like geographical location or time frame, so one of the interesting things that you can do is see which cities, states and countries seem to have more people searching Google for the term ‘astrology’ than others.  Some of the results that it gives are kind of surprising, such as for example that a city called Pleasanton, California is apparently the astrology capital of the United States.  Other results are not so surprising, such as for example the fact that there are more people searching for the term ‘astrology’ in India than the number of searches for the same term in the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK combined.  Well, that last one is kind of surprising, although it probably shouldn’t be.

So, let’s break down some of the information that Google Trends gives us about searches for the term astrology around the world.   I suppose that the data could be interpreted a number of ways, although I suspect that the results give us a pretty good idea of the amount of interest in or popularity of astrology in different areas.  Perhaps this also partially reflects on the number of astrologers in a given area, or just astrological enthusiasts.   Someone could probably use this data to write a research paper at some point, although in the meantime I’m just going to make some generalizations here.

Top 10 Cities for Astrology in the USA

1. Pleasanton, CA
2. Irvine, CA
3. New York, NY
4. Portland, OR
5. Los Angeles, CA
6. San Francisco, CA
7. Seattle, WA
8. Denver, CO
9. Phoenix, AZ
10. Austin, TX

For the most part these results seem to be pretty unsurprising.  The only one that is kind of peculiar is Pleasanton.  The only astrologer I know offhand who lives in Pleasanton is Gloria Stathis, and while she a pretty well known business astrologer, unless she has started some sort of astrological cult over in Pleasanton that has taken over the city, I really have no idea why this number seems to be so inflated.

All of the other cities are ones in which there are at lest one local astrological group that holds meetings each month.  In some cities, like Denver and New York, there are multiple groups that hold meetings each month.   So, generally speaking, this is sort of an accurate reflection of the number of astrologers or astrological enthusiasts in each city, although I’m surprised that Boston isn’t listed since I know that they have a pretty big NCGR group.  The results are slightly different when you look at states as a whole though, and this may help to account for some of the peculiarities that come up when analyzing individual cities.   Let’s take a look.

Top 10 States for Astrology in the US

1. Oregon, United States
2. California, United States
3. Nevada, United States
4. New York, United States
5. Arizona, United States
6. Washington, United States
7. Colorado, United States
8. New Jersey, United States
9. Massachusetts, United States
10. Connecticut, United States

Most of the data here is pretty much a reiteration of what we saw above, although you will notice that more places on the east coast of the US come up when you look at it on a state by state basis, rather than just by city.

When you broaden the search and start looking at it from more of a global perspective you start to see that the US is generally not on the top when it comes to cities and countries that have people searching for astrology.

Top 10 Cities for Astrology Around the World

1. Chennai, India
2. Bangalore, India
3. Delhi, India
4. Mumbai, India
5. Toronto, Canada
6. Vancouver, Canada
7. Los Angeles, CA, USA
8. New York, NY, USA
9. San Francisco, CA, USA
10. Seattle, WA, USA

The results here show that all of the major cities for astrology searches are in India by a huge margin, with Canadian cities beating out the major US cities for astrology searches.  One thing that I’m not quite clear on is why these four US cities are ranked at the top when compared on a global scale, while on a national scale they are not listed as being the top cities.  It seems like it is either some sort of glitch, or it has something to do with a relative scale compared to the other cities around the world, or maybe the other US cities were so close in their results that they were sort of randomly put up.  I’m not really sure which it is though.

Finally, lets take a look at the trends for astrology by country.

Top 7 Countries For Astrology

1. India
2. South Africa
3. Singapore
4. Canada
5. United States
6. Australia
7. United Kingdom

The data here basically just shows us that there are way more people searching for the term ‘astrology’ in India than anywhere else in the world.  Interestingly, South Africa and Singapore come in 2nd and 3rd place, followed by the main English speaking countries.  The relative number of searches for ‘astrology’ in other countries is apparently so low that Google Trends doesn’t even list it here.

It should be noted that these are English searches just for the specific term ‘astrology’ that are being analyzed, and the period is from 2004 to the present time in late 2008.   Here is a graph which shows how the number of searches for this term has fluctuated over the past four years, sometimes peaking when major astrology related events were happening or were mentioned in the news:

So, that’s it.  Pretty interesting, huh?  You can find all of the data for yourself and run your own tests at Google Trends, so be sure to check it out.   Let me know what you think of the results above.  Does it sound more or less accurate based on what you know about your area, or do you think that the data is way off?   Do you know what is going on in Pleasanton, and/or do you have access to their cult?  Can I join?   Let me know.

13 replies on “Tracking the Popularity of Astrology Around the World”

Heh, I represent Austin AND Pleasanton… I live in Austin and my work is through Pleasanton. And I’m in the NCGR Group down in Austin (hosting you I believe in a couple of months), and I do a TON of google searches. Maybe I helped?

I wonder why India is so far tilted?

So, what is going on in Pleasanton that is making astrology such a hot search over there?

India is tilted because of how integrated astrology is in their culture and religion (Hinduism). There has been much more continuity in the practice of astrology there, especially when compared to the west where there have been many starts and stops in the tradition over the past 2,000 years.

Vedic astrologer Komilla Sutton works out of Pleasanton, and there is a large Indian population there.

Maybe there are a lot more interesting, clever, well-educated folks in India. The statistics for our web site show a good number of members with names and web addresses the seem to be from India. Good work Chris.

I figured India was so huge because they have a huge poopulation. HOwever, I would not have thought that so many people have access tocomputers. These two factors play into the big numbers, along with the cultural interest in astrology, as Chris mentioned.

Ah, I didn’t know that Komilla was based there, or that they had a large Indian population. Thanks for filling me in Cathy!

Stephanie – Maybe the increase of computer users in India is somehow tied into many of the larger corporations moving their customer support centers to India of the course of the past decade? Perhaps there is a lot of in-office web surfing going on during business hours?

Thanks for the plug Melanie! I will have to start mentioning the retreat more as the date gets closer. It is sneaking up on us rather quick now.

When I was looking at the Google Trends website I noticed that throughout the year, astrological popularity was relatively low but once fall hit, popularity creeps back up until it reaches the peak in January where it begins to drop again. Why do you think this happens? As you said^ I’m writing a research report on this and couldn’t find any valid conclusions to my question. Thanks.

That is a good question. My best guess would be that it might have something to do with the publication of yearly “horoscopes” or astrological predictions. I know a few people who write Sun-sign astrology columns, and they release annual horoscope guides towards the end of each year. Maybe there is some sort of dual thing going on where people start searching for predictions for the coming year towards the later part of each year, and that is also when the market tends to release books of that nature. The two trends might reenforce each other, if enough people generally know that that is when they should start searching for next year’s guide. It is also true of financial astrologers, as I know some of them who publish books on how the markets will do according to astrology towards the end of each year.