I’ve long had the feeling that more and more people are getting into things like growing their own food, keeping chickens, and living sustainably. But then my own interest in these areas has been growing over the past few years too, so I wasn’t sure if it was just that I was paying more attention to those topics or this was a real demographic trend.
As always, it turns out that Google has the answers!
Below is a graph of how the number of searches for the term “backyard chickens” has increased over recent years. Obviously the northern hemisphere is dominating the search patterns, as you can see the strong seasonal variation.
Interest in growing food in the backyard increased a little in 2008, but really took off in 2009 – perhaps due to the increased uncertainty brought on by the global economic crisis? This graph is for the term “growing vegetables“.
And it’s not just that people are spending more time at home and out in the yard – if that were the case then searches for “flower gardens“, “ornamental gardens“, etc would be increasing too. This graph is typical of the trends shown by these types of search terms, decreasing steadily year by year.
There’s also a strong interest in learning about “saving electricity” and “saving water“:
These graphs were all produced using Google Insights for Search. It’s a great way to explore what people are interested in and identifying broad trends. Be warned, though, you might end up spending hours playing around with it!