Google Trends: Rise in Asian Hate Crimes and Unemployment Benefits Searches Amid Pandemic

The Rise in Asian Hate Crimes

Attacks on Asian-Americans have been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. As these crimes spike, people from across the US have been searching for terms related to Asian hate crimes.

According to a Google Trends analysis, “Asian Hate Crimes” and related Google searches have been trending, spiking in Mar. 2021. Other searches such as “coronavirus xenophobia” have also been on the climb recently.

The highest searches come from major cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, CA. This can be attributed to California’s high Asian population and the rise in hate crimes against Asians, particularly in the Bay Area. Other cities with these rising searches also have dense Asian populations such as New York City, LA, Seattle, and Honolulu.

The rise in hate crimes against Asians has been triggered by the fear-mongering around the COVID-19 pandemic, from media outlets, and from the anti-Asian rhetoric that came from the previous administration. The terms “Chinese virus” and “Kung Flu” were prominently used by former President Donald Trump in mid-March of 2020. In correlation, Google Trends data show a slight bump in searches for “Asian Hate Crimes” around the same time this rhetoric was being used.

However, the large spike in searches came later in Mar. 2021, demonstrating that Asian hate crimes have continued to rise despite the change in administration.

Unemployment Benefits

As unemployment rates skyrocketed amid the COVID-19 pandemic last Apr., the Google search trends for “Unemployment Benefits” also followed suit.

According to an analysis of Google Trends data, the term “Unemployment Benefits” was most searched in Apr. 2020, as the unemployment rates reached a high of 14.7 percent. Around 20.5 million jobs were lost in Apr. 2020, and many people were searching for unemployment benefits at the same time.

The graphic below shows searches for “Unemployment Benefits” from 2004 to Dec. 2020.

Among the cities that searched “Unemployment Benefits” on Google, the top highest in recent searches come from Montgomery, AL, Victoria, TX, Utica, NY, Wilkes Barre-Scranton, PA, and Erie, PA.

The spike in unemployment can be attributed to mass business closures during the stay-at-home order, leading to the layoff and furloughing of millions of workers.

Since then, the search for unemployment benefits has declined, corresponding to the decline in unemployment rates. Today, the unemployment rate is at 6.3 percent.