The Year 2020 in Review

Dr. James Emery White
Dr. James Emery White
2020 31 Dec

This is the time to recap the year that was. And what a year it was.

There are a number of ways to do it, many that are interesting. You can look at a year in terms of notable deaths, viral events, political rises and falls, etc.

But how do you really get a 12-month snapshot of a culture’s zeitgeist?

I would argue for two words: Google searches.

I’m not saying that this will be what historians will mark in 10, much less 100 years… even less what is most significant. But I will say that it may be the clearest window into our current soul.

So here we go with a few peeks into our inner world in 2020, courtesy of Google itself.

Top 10 Searches:

1. Election results
2. Coronavirus
3. Kobe Bryant
4. Coronavirus update
5. Coronavirus symptoms
6. Zoom
7. Who is winning the election
8. Naya Rivera
9. Chadwick Boseman
10. PlayStation 5

Top 10 News Story Searches:

1. Election results
2. Coronavirus
3. Stimulus checks
4. Unemployment
5. Iran
6. Hurricane Laura
7. Super Tuesday
8. Stock market
9. Murder hornet
10. Australia fires

Top 10 “Why?” Searches:

1. Why were chainsaws invented?
2. Why is there a coin shortage?
3. Why was George Floyd arrested?
4. Why is Nevada taking so long?
5. Why is TikTok getting banned?
6. Why did Kobe have two numbers?
7. Why is everyone buying toilet paper?
8. Why is it called COVID-19?
9. Why is it called Juneteenth?
10. Why is Australia on fire?

And finally, the Top 10 People Searches:

1. Joe Biden
2. Kim Jong Un
3. Kamala Harris
4. Jacob Blake
5. Ryan Newman
6. Tom Hanks
7. Shakira
8. Tom Brady
9. Kanye West
10. Vanessa Bryant

Welcome to our world.

James Emery White


See the “Year in Search 2020” for the United States, Google, read online.

About the Author

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His newest book, Christianity for People Who Aren’t Christians: Uncommon Answers to Common Questions, is now available on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @JamesEmeryWhite.