Study: What Americans Want to Know About Money in Every State

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Have you ever turned to the internet for help making a financial decision or managing your money? If so, you’re not the only one, according to our recent study of online searches.

We wanted to see what money questions people are Googling and how those queries vary from state to state and city to city. We also included the District of Columbia in our research.

To find out what Americans are searching for, we collected and analyzed results for popular money-related search terms, from getting a credit card to managing retirement accounts. Here’s what we found.

Key findings


Using Google Trends, we found that a few money-related search terms have become more popular throughout the U.S. in the past 12 months.

  • The new tax bill and the Equifax data breach have been among the biggest money-related news topics in the past year. Searches for “tax bill” are up 1,000%, and people are searching more often for both “Equifax” and “Equifax data breach.”
  • Queries for cryptocurrency-related terms have shot up. Searches for “Bitcoin value” and “Bitcoin price” were more common around the time the cryptocurrency’s value peaked in late 2017. This event also bumped up similar searches for other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple.
  • People are searching for “deposit account” and “certificate of deposit” (CD) more often. With interest rates on the rise, savers might have more incentive to find high-yield savings accounts or take advantage of CDs.
  • An increasingly popular source of personal finance advice is Reddit. One of the fastest-growing queries related to this topic is for the “r/personalfinance” subreddit. Searchers also want to find the “Reddit personal finance flowchart.”

The most-Googled money term in each state


Through our Google Trends analysis, we found that money-related queries can and do vary across the nation. In some states, online users are focused on their debt; in others, they look ahead to save for retirement. And some states’ residents are focused on scraping by.

Even within a state, the financial topics users Google vary by city and metropolitan area. While Angelenos worry about their debt, for instance, people in San Francisco search for investment- and tax-related terms.

Below are the full results of our analysis of the personal finance-related search terms we researched. You can find the most-searched money topics in your city or state and see how you compare to others in your area.

They reveal what financial questions people in your area have or what money moves they’re preparing to make. Maybe you have the same questions, or perhaps you’re already well-informed about that aspect of managing your finances.

Alabama: ‘Build credit’

  • Birmingham: “loan payment”

  • Mobile: “buy a car”

  • Montgomery: “credit score,” “student loan forgiveness,” “bankruptcy”

Overall, Alabamians are most concerned with managing their credit and payments, with top searches such as “build credit” and “loan payment.”

Alaska: ‘Compound interest’

  • Juneau: “cryptocurrency,” “mortgage rates,” “IRA”

Alaska residents want to not only understand compound interest but also earn it by investing in stocks. And despite the fact that Alaska has no state income tax, “tax bracket” is a popular search term.

Arizona: ‘Debt to income’

  • Phoenix: “pay off debt,” “refinance car loan,” “title loan”

  • Tucson: “debt relief,” “compound interest”

The financial focus in Arizona is securing and paying off debt. In addition to “debt to income,” Google users in the Grand Canyon State also search for “refinance car loan” and “late payment.”

Arkansas: ‘Saving money’

While no Arkansas cities showed up in the Google Trends searches included in this study, it’s a good sign that so many online searches in the state are for “saving money.” Other top terms in the state include “loan payment” and “Social Security.”

California: ‘Cryptocurrency’

  • Los Angeles: “late payment,” “late fee,” “debt repayment,” “best credit card”

  • Monterey: “retirement planning”

  • Palm Springs: “refinance mortgage”

  • San Diego: “HELOC,” “cryptocurrency”

  • San Francisco: “Bitcoin,” “401k,” “capital gains,” “index funds,” “tax bracket,” “tax deduction”

Many California residents are focused on the investing trends of the moment. “Cryptocurrency” and “Bitcoin” are top searches.

Search terms are highly regional in this state too. Los Angeles residents are focused on keeping up with debt payments, while San Franciscans are all about investing and minimizing their tax liabilities.

Colorado: ‘Capital gains’

  • Colorado Springs: “student debt,” “personal loan,” “reverse mortgage”

  • Denver: “capital gains,” “HELOC,” “consolidate debt”

  • Grand Junction: “home loan”

The focus in Colorado on “capital gains” shows an interest in investing. But home financing-related terms such as “reverse mortgage,” “mortgage rates,” and “buy a home” are also popular.

Connecticut: ‘401k’

  • Hartford: “new credit card”

Connecticut residents might be focused on building their nest eggs, as evidenced by top searches such as “401k” and “invest in stocks.” They also search for “income tax.”

Delaware: ‘Bankruptcy’

Despite no Delaware cities turning up in our Google Trends search, the state has a clear financial focus: dealing with personal debt and credit. It’s where “bankruptcy” is Googled most often. Residents also search for “FICO score” and “credit report.”

District of Columbia: ‘Public Service Loan Forgiveness’

It’s unsurprising that people who live and work in the nation’s capital have a greater interest in Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). With so many government jobs in Washington, D.C., many of its residents with federal student loans could be eligible for PSLF.

Other top search terms in this area focus on saving and investing: “return on investment,” “brokerage account,” and “index fund.”

Florida: ‘Credit card’

  • Fort Myers: “CD rates,” “reverse mortgage,” “buy a home”

  • Gainesville: “Public Service Loan Forgiveness”

  • Jacksonville: “buy a home”

  • Miami: “car lease,” “auto lease,” “best credit card,” “cryptocurrency”
  • Tallahassee: “return on investment,” “how to invest,” “cash flow”

  • West Palm Beach: “net worth,” “car lease,” “FHA loan,” “FICO score,” “CD rates”

Floridians are focused on credit cards, ranking for “credit card” and “pay off credit card.” They also want to improve their credit; another top search term is “increase credit score.”

Georgia: ‘Credit report’

  • Albany: “life insurance,” “Social Security,” “Public Service Loan Forgiveness”

  • Atlanta: “car note,” “net worth,” “debt snowball”

  • Columbus: “bank account,” “how to invest,” “certificate of deposit”

  • Savannah: “FICO score”

Overall, managing debt and credit is a major focus for Georgians. Popular search terms include “credit report,” “car note,” and “build credit.”

Hawaii: ‘Bitcoin’

  • Honolulu: “HELOC,” “Bitcoin,” “property tax”

Bitcoin is making waves in this island state, where it’s searched for more often than anywhere else in the U.S. Hawaii residents also search for “how to invest” and “HELOC,” or home equity line of credit.

Idaho: ‘Home loan’

  • Boise: “debt ratio,” “home loan,” “car insurance,” “debt consolidation”

  • Twin Falls: “loan calculator”

It’s no surprise Idaho residents are searching for “home loan” — Boise has one of the hottest housing markets in the U.S., according to a March 2018 report from Realtor.com.

Other top search terms in the state are related to debt too: “loan calculator” and “compound interest.”

Illinois: ‘Property taxes’

  • Chicago: “late fee,” “car note,” “home insurance”

  • Peoria: “auto loan”

  • Springfield: “income tax”

In Illinois, residents are searching for “property taxes” and “income tax.” Illinois has the second-highest property tax rate in the nation, reported The New York Times in March 2018.

Indiana: ‘Debt snowball’

  • Evansville: “buy stocks,” “pension”

  • Indianapolis: “debt snowball,” “return on investment,” “how to budget”

  • Lafayette: “car insurance,” “debt consolidation,” “business loan”

The debt snowball method is a popular way to pay off debt, and Indiana residents search for this term more often than the rest of the nation. Other top search terms include “debt repayment” and “return on investment.”

Iowa: ‘How to budget’

  • Cedar Rapids: “what is APR”

  • Des Moines: “compound interest”

Iowans are starting with the basics of money management and searching for “how to budget” more than any other state. But they’re also looking up advanced topics such as “invest in stocks” and “compound interest.”

Kansas: ‘Financial planning’

  • Topeka: “sales tax”

Kansas residents want a plan in place for their money, as their Google queries for “financial planning,” “saving money,” and “retirement planning” show.

Kentucky: ‘Pension’

  • Bowling Green: “pension,” “refinancing mortgage”

  • Lexington: “pension”

  • Louisville: “get out of debt,” “debt calculator,” “debt repayment,” “pension”

Recent policy debates over pay for teachers in Kentucky are likely the reason so many people in the state are searching for the term “pension.” Kentucky residents also are searching for the terms “get out of debt” and “student loan forgiveness.”

Louisiana: ‘Payday loan’

  • Baton Rouge: “payday loan,” “net worth”

  • Lafayette: “checking account,” “mortgage rates”

  • Monroe: “checking account,” “payday loan”

  • Shreveport: “payday loan,” “personal loan”

Lots of Louisiana residents might be in need of fast cash; it’s the state where “payday loan” is searched for the most. Residents are looking into other essential financial products as well, as they’re also searching for “auto insurance” and “checking account.”

Maine: ‘Savings calculator’

  • Bangor: “FHA loan”

  • Portland: “retirement savings”

This state’s Google users stand out for their interest in funding their retirement accounts. Maine searches for “savings calculator” and “retirement savings” more than other states, and “savings rates” is another popular search in the state.

Maryland: ‘Tax credit’

  • Baltimore: “tax credit,” “retirement savings”

Maryland residents have more varied financial searches. “Tax credit,” “overdraft fee” and “how to invest” are all searched for more in this state than elsewhere in the U.S.

Massachusetts: ‘Refinance student loans’

  • Boston: “IRA,” “savings rates,” “refinance student loans”

Massachusetts is home to famed institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, so it’s no surprise student loans are on many residents’ minds. In addition to searching for “refinance student loans,” they also search for information about retirement savings. These searches  include “401k” and “IRA.”

Michigan: ‘How to make more money’

  • Alpena: “credit union,” “401k”

  • Detroit: “invest in stocks,” “car lease”

  • Lansing: “Public Service Loan Forgiveness,” “student debt,” “401k”

In Michigan, many residents are looking to find out how to make more money. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the state’s average annual earnings of $48,300 are behind the national average of $50,620. Other common searches include “credit union” and “car note.”

Minnesota: ‘Property tax’

  • Duluth: “property tax”
  • Minneapolis: “property tax,” “debt snowball,” “index funds”

Interestingly, this state has average property tax rates, according to WalletHub, despite so many Minnesotans searching for “property tax” and “property taxes.”

Mississippi: ‘Social Security’

  • Biloxi: “buy a car,” “payday loan,” “credit report”

  • Columbus: “loan payment,” “what is interest”

  • Greenville: “payday loan,” “Social Security”

  • Jackson: “title loan,” “what is interest,” “saving money”

  • Meridian: “life insurance,” “health insurance”

Mississippi has a weak economy, according to a March 2018 Business Insider study. Many Mississippians use Google to find financial help and learn about Social Security benefits, credit reports, and title loans.

Missouri: ‘Earn more money’

  • Columbia: “student debt,” “Public Service Loan Forgiveness,” “debt ratio”

  • Joplin: “sales tax”

  • Kansas City: “refinance car loan,” “property tax,” “tax bracket”

  • St. Joseph: “Social Security”

  • St. Louis: “property tax,” “tax bracket”

The average annual income in Missouri is $45,520, according to the BLS, which trails the national average by $5,100. It makes sense, then, that the state’s Google users are searching for “saving money” and “earn more money.”

Other popular searches in this state, including “home loan” and “FHA loan,” focus on home financing.

Montana: ‘Loan calculator’

  • Glendive: “Bitcoin”

  • Helena: “health insurance,” “loan calculator”

  • Missoula: “loan calculator”

With a top search term of “loan calculator,” Montanans seem to be interested in getting a closer look at their debt. They also search for “how to budget” and “saving money” more often than other Google users in the U.S.

Nebraska: ‘Paycheck’

  • Lincoln: “get out of debt,” “retirement planning,” “consolidate debt”

The popular Google searches in Nebraska show that residents are focused on managing their everyday finances. Top queries include “paycheck,” “loan payment,” and “free checking account.”

Nevada: ‘Buy a home’

  • Las Vegas: “debt relief,” “buy a car,” “title loan”

  • Reno: “reverse mortgage,” “title loan,” “sales tax”

Many Nevadans are searching for “buy a home,” but searches such as “debt relief” and “title loan” could be evidence that residents are struggling to make ends meet.

New Hampshire: ‘Car loan’

None of New Hampshire’s cities showed up in our Google Trends analysis. The state’s residents are conducting some interesting searches for “car loan” and “401k loan.”

New Jersey: ‘Car lease’

New Jersey is the top state searching for “car lease.” Other popular searches show a keen interest in, well, earning interest. New Jerseyans search for “invest in stocks,” “how to invest,” and “CD rates” more often than Google users in other states.

New Mexico: ‘New credit card’

New Mexico’s residents searched most for “new credit card” — which could be the result of an overlap of the word “new” in the state’s name and the search term. A related search term in this state is “pay off credit card.”

New York: ‘Health insurance’

  • Albany: “home equity loan,” “car loan”

  • New York City: “mortgage rates,” “CD rates,” “certificate of deposit”

  • Syracuse: “cash flow,” “student loan forgiveness,” “retirement savings”

By far, New York is the state with the most searches for banking and financial products. Some of its top searches are for deposit accounts: checking, savings, money market, and certificates of deposit. New York residents also search for rates on mortgages and savings accounts as well as health and life insurance more often than residents of most other states.

North Carolina: ‘Get a raise’

  • Charlotte: “401k loan,” “401k,” “brokerage account”

  • Greensboro: “home insurance”

  • Raleigh: “401k,” “money market account,” “what is interest”

North Carolina workers earn $46,080 per year on average, according to the BLS, which is $4,540 behind the national average. That might be why many North Carolinians search for “get a raise.” Additionally, this state searches for “401k” and “late fee” more often than U.S. Google users overall.

North Dakota: ‘Student loans’

  • Bismarck: “buy stocks,” “student loans,” “student loan forgiveness”

  • Fargo: “student loans”

Borrowers in North Dakota might be stressing over their student loans, as this state Googles the term “student loans” more often than any other. Other popular Google queries in North Dakota include “property taxes” and “how to budget.”

Ohio: ‘Income tax’

  • Cincinnati: “refinance car loan”

  • Cleveland: “refinance student loans”

  • Columbus: “return on investment”

  • Toledo: “buy a home”

  • Youngstown: “home loan,” “FHA loan,” “income tax”

  • Zanesville: “auto loan,” “credit score”

Based on their top Google searches, Ohio residents want to keep more of their money instead of paying income tax, overdraft fees, or debt interest (“pay off debt”).

Oklahoma: ‘Debt repayment’

  • Oklahoma City: “what is APR,” “debt repayment,” “how to budget,” “return on investment”

  • Tulsa: “balance transfer,” “retirement planning,” “financial planning”

Oklahoma is the state where internet users are most interested in “debt repayment.” They also search for “what is interest” and “car loan.”

Oregon: ‘Mortgage’

  • Medford: “home loan”

  • Portland: “auto lease,” “tax credit,” “credit history,” “debt repayment”

The residents of Oregon are searching for the term “mortgage” more often than most other U.S. Google users. Other hot searches for the state include “auto lease” and “credit history.”

Pennsylvania: ‘Pay off credit card’

  • Erie: “student loans”

  • Harrisburg: “certificate of deposit,” “savings calculator”

  • Philadelphia: “new credit card,” “invest in stocks,” “pay off debt”

  • Pittsburgh: “savings calculator,” “refinance student loans”

  • Scranton: “home equity loan,” “credit card”

Getting out of debt might be a top personal finance goal for Pennsylvania Google users. They rack up searches on terms such as “pay off credit card” and “refinance student loans.”

Rhode Island: ‘CD rates’

  • Providence: “CD rates”

Rhode Islanders might be interested in getting more out of their savings, as evidenced by their frequent searches for “CD rates.” Other top search terms in the state include “cash flow” and “auto lease.”

South Carolina: ‘Car insurance’

  • Columbia: “credit report”

In South Carolina, Google searchers could be trying to save on a major monthly expense: car insurance. Another top search term is “tax refund.”

South Dakota: ‘Auto loan’

  • Rapid City: “debt consolidation”

  • Sioux Falls: “student loans”

South Dakota is ahead of the rest of the U.S. in terms of how often its residents search for “auto loan” and “loan payment calculator.” Residents of this state also want to know about “student loans” and “compound interest.”

Tennessee: ‘Extra income’

  • Chattanooga: “buy a home”

  • Knoxville: “saving money,” “debt relief”

  • Memphis: “bank account,” “title loan,” “net worth”

With an average income of $43,550, Tennesseans could use the extra income they’re searching for to make up for earning $7,070 less than the national average, per BLS data.

Texas: ‘Best credit card’

  • Beaumont: “FHA loan,” “Social Security,” “checking account”

  • Dallas: “build credit,” “credit history,” “debt snowball,” “late payment”

  • Houston: “401k loan,” “debt snowball”

  • Laredo: “credit card,” “income tax”

  • McAllen: “best credit card,” “credit card,” “income tax”

  • San Antonio: “consolidate debt,” “get out of debt,” “best credit card”

  • Waco: “compound interest,” “debt ratio”

Texas residents might be in the frame of mind to shop for new loans and credit, as evidenced by the state’s popular search terms. “Best credit card” is searched for more in Texas than in other states. “Origination fee” is another popular search term in the state.

Utah: ‘What is APR’

  • Salt Lake City: “tax bracket,” “compound interest,” “what is APR”

Many Utahns are searching for “what is APR” and the related term “compound interest.” Others are using Google to find out how to budget.

Vermont: ‘Retirement savings’

  • Burlington: “student debt”

According to the state’s popular Google searches, Vermont residents have two major financial goals: building a nest egg (“retirement savings” and “save for retirement”) and managing student debt.

Virginia: ‘Pay off debt’

  • Charlottesville: “IRA,” “mortgage rates”

  • Norfolk: “FICO score,” “how to budget”

  • Richmond: “what is APR,” “refinance car loan,” “certificate of deposit”

  • Roanoke: “saving money,” “financial planning,” “money market account”

Debt is on many Virginians’ minds. Some are searching for ways to pay off debt. They’re using Google to find out more about origination fees on new loans.

Washington: ‘Sales tax’

  • Seattle: “sales tax,” “tax bracket,” “capital gains,” “index funds”

Washington doesn’t have its own income tax, but residents are concerned about the sales tax they’ll pay. “Debt to income” and “cryptocurrency” are other top money-related Google searches in this state.

West Virginia: ‘Tax refund’

  • Bluefield: “Social Security,” “credit score”

  • Charleston: “student loan forgiveness,” “Public Service Loan Forgiveness”

  • Parkersburg: “Credit report,” “loan calculator,” “car loan”

In West Virginia, Google users are concerned with getting the money they’re entitled to from the government, as evidenced by top searches for “tax refund” and “Social Security.” “Paycheck” is another common search term in West Virginia.

Wisconsin: ‘Credit union’

  • Green Bay: “credit union,” “certificate of deposit,” “tax credit”

  • Madison: “ETF,” “savings calculator,” “retirement savings”

  • Milwaukee: “retirement savings,” “get out of debt,” “savings calculator”

Wisconsin residents search for “credit union” more frequently than Google users elsewhere in the U.S. The state also sees queries for “retirement savings” and “health insurance.”

Wyoming: ‘Debt consolidation’

  • Cheyenne: “health insurance,” “debt relief,” “bankruptcy”

Wyoming residents search for “debt consolidation” more than residents of other states. Auto-related terms such as “car insurance” and “buy a car” are also popular.

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