After 2021’s search trends were dominated by COVID-related queries, this year America’s interests have been refreshingly diverse.

We’ve been searching1 for everything from “how to help Ukraine” following the Russian invasion, “election results” following the midterm elections and, uh, “Sriracha shortage” after the makers of the tasty hot sauce announced stocks were running low.2

It’s been quite a year for gaming fans, with epic titles like “God of War Ragnarök” and “Elden Ring” seeing huge spikes in queries (another, very different kind of game has been big in search this year, but more on that shortly). And it’s been a big year for movies too. We’ve searched for much-loved hits like “Top Gun: Maverick” and much-mocked flops like “Morbius.”

In our personal lives, we’ve been trying to stay healthy by searching for “recipes for overnight oats,” and we’ve been seeking new best friends in the form of “Labrador Retrievers” and “domestic shorthair cats.” Below, we take a quick look at some of the most popular search trends of 2022.

1.     Wordle

In a year of high drama, it was the ingenious word game “Wordle” that became the top search term in 2022. And we can’t blame people for wanting a wholesome distraction in these unpredictable times. What began as a gift from creator Josh Wardle to his partner soon became a gift to the world and was eventually snapped up by The New York Times. Want some new additions to your five-letter-word vocabulary? Check out our list of essential five-letter life insurance terms. It just might help you solve tomorrow’s Wordle!

2.     Queen Elizabeth II

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II was a momentous event that grabbed the attention of the world. Millions of us were sent down royal internet rabbit holes as we discovered more about the late monarch’s dutiful and pragmatic life. We had many questions, like, “Is the Queen dead?”, “When is the Queen’s funeral?”, and “Where will the Queen be buried?” The Queen left behind a fortune, but you don’t need land and castles to benefit from estate planning, so why not plan to secure your legacy today.

3.     Powerball numbers

Internet searches for “Powerball numbers” went through the roof in 2022. Perhaps it was because people were looking to get rich quick as inflation rose. Or perhaps it was because the jackpot soared to a record $1.6 billion in November. But even if you’re feeling lucky, some things shouldn’t be left to chance, so be sure to build a sound financial plan for the future.

4.     Betty White

More than one queen left us in 2022 — we’re talking about the legend that was Betty White. When the beloved multiple-Emmy-winning actress appeared as the host of Saturday Night Live at the tender age of 883 in 2010 it was clear that retirement wasn’t exactly round the corner for her. In fact, she never really retired. Incredibly, the sassy star of hit shows like The Golden Girls and The Mary Tyler Moore Show spent seven decades working in television, which was recognized as a Guinness World Record in 2014.4 Betty White may not have made any plans to retire (she filmed her last on-camera appearance just days before her death) but it’s a good idea to put plans in place for your golden years, just in case that lucrative movie and TV career doesn’t materialize.

5.     Will Smith slap

The Oscars are meant to be a time of celebration, but 2022 was the year they spilled over into outrage. When Will Smith marched up to Chris Rock mid-performance and slapped him across the face, it sent the search term “Will Smith” into the stratosphere, along with terms like “Will Smith slaps Chris Rock,” “GI Jane,” and “Will Smith acceptance speech.”  The outburst followed a poorly judged joke about the shaved head of Smith’s wife, the actress Jada Pinkett Smith (she suffers from alopecia, a skin disease that can cause hair loss). Rock’s joke may not have landed, but Smith’s slap landed the hot-tempered actor in a lot of trouble. As Chris Rock discovered, we don’t always know what life is going to throw at us – but there are many things we can do to prepare for unexpected financial events.

If you searched for “New York Life” in 2022, you’d know that we’re the largest mutual life insurance company in the U.S. Go here to speak to a financial professional today.


1As of December 21, 2022

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Media contact
Kevin Maher
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-6955

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