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2023 year in review: Data


This page details what people searched for on government websites via during 2023. Reading the public’s searches in their own words allows us to understand how challenging it can be to navigate the government, when someone is not clear about where to look.

1. Space

19.2 million searches

Space is always a popular topic, and 2023 was no different. NASA relaunched their website in October, with a significant redesign based on usability research and testing. They implemented our new search filters feature at that same time.

Pie chart showing relative proportion of the top 25 search terms related to outer space. No pie slices are significantly bigger than others.
Top 25 search terms Number of searches
mars 302,364
pluto 255,683
moon 156,633
earth 130,523
saturn 112,849
jupiter 106,248
sun 85,984
black hole 72,263
mercury 72,056
james webb 71,710
venus 69,180
planets 61,344
neptune 60,189
galaxy 57,054
space 56,667
nebula 54,616
games 54,169
solar system 53,498
apollo 11 49,886
uranus 46,575
stars 45,924
iss 44,276
international space station 42,584
black holes 37,667
hubble 36,915

2. Benefits

13.2 million searches

One of the primary ways people interact with the government is to request and receive support. In past years, the topic of benefits had search volumes close to double that of other topics. As discussed earlier, this year we saw a significant benefits-related queries decrease by over 50%.

In the data table below, you can see that one of the top 25 searches for the year was “redacted_ssn.” Social security numbers are personally identifiable information, and not included in public web content. However, people often search for individual social security numbers on government websites, so to protect their personal information, we redact the social security number from our system. This shows people search for social security numbers on government websites frequently, and not always to good intent. Some users may be looking to hit on an existing number that they can use for fraudulent purposes.

Pie chart showing relative proportion of the top 25 search terms related to benefits. The biggest pie slice, representing the search term 'benefits.' takes up approximately one third of the chart.
Top 25 search terms Number of searches
benefits 1,002,858
social security 187,485
death 148,541
medicare 116,569
spousal benefits 108,628
1099 105,940
ssi 99,384
fmla 98,129
extra help 90,350
ssa-561-u2 83,201
social security benefits 81,195
report a death 80,822
disability 80,710
benefit letter 80,091
retirement 75,117
benefits letter 69,706
report death 67,075
survivor benefits 63,714
ssa-44 63,433
medicaid 58,237
food 56,832
direct deposit 52,802
spouse benefits 52,392
wep 50,961
redacted_ssn 50,825

3. Health

11.8 million searches

Health-related searches on government websites more than doubled between 2019 and 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, and have continued at this high level each year since. The search terms people use are very general, indicating a high level understanding of medical challenges and treatments. “Ivermectin” appears three times in the top 25 queries, showing the impact of social media trends on government information seeking.

Pie chart showing relative proportion of the top 25 search terms related to health. The top search term, 'health' is represented by a pie slice about one quarter of the whole chart.
Top 25 search terms Number of searches
ivermectin and cancer153,599
medical records116,078
ivermectin cancer77,229
mental health64,024
covid 1942,708
supplemental claim40,638
vitamin d28,402
health topics27,904
post-deployment health18,501

* “nichd” is the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

4. Banking and finance

6.9 million searches

Last year, for the first time, we saw Treasury savings bonds emerge as a significant topic in government search. This year we expanded this topic to include all banking and finance searches. The top two search terms are “pension” and “loans.” Together with other retirement and loan-related searches in the top 25, these topics represent more than 20% of all banking and finance related searches on government websites.

Pie chart showing relative proportion of the top 25 search terms related to banking and finance. The top search term, 'pension' takes up one third of the chart, and the second search term, loans, takes up another third of the chart.
Top 25 search terms Number of searches
psb bank97,648
i bonds71,558
i bond35,438
full retirement age34,882
unclaimed money22,702
home loan21,806
savings bonds21,331
savings bond calculator19,059
unemployment weekly claims15,609
va home loan13,413
bond calculator12,869
debt management12,352
retirement calculator12,269
va loan12,230
loan limits11,445

5. Forms

5 million searches

Over the years, we have seen people search simply using the word “forms,” indicating they do not know what form they may need; 2023 was no different. People search for “forms,” but they need the benefit or service on the other side of the form. This remains a significant usability challenge for most government agencies.

Pie chart showing relative proportion of the top 25 search terms related to forms. The top search term, 'forms' takes up about 40% of the pie chart. The second most popular search term, 'dd214' is about 20% of the chart.
Top 25 search terms Number of searches
global entry application66,609
dd 21455,650
application status37,378
tax forms35,443
tax form26,888
va forms25,127
va form 21-526ez24,511
va form 20-099520,806
fmla forms19,184
pact act application18,263
visa application17,290
form w-4v17,018
form 115,660
apply for benefits14,151
1099 form13,486
apply for disability12,740
form 152212,483
direct deposit form11,164

6. Jobs

4.4 million searches

Searches for jobs and career-related information are consistently high year-over-year. While USAJOBS is the central application portal for the jobs themselves, many job seekers start at the agency they’re interested in working for. provides postings directly from USAJOBS on the agency search results page.

Pie chart showing relative proportion of the top 25 search terms related to jobs. The pie slices for the top two search terms, 'jobs' and 'careers' represent 50% of the chart, with jobs slightly more popular than careers.
Top 25 search terms Number of searches
ticket to work36,596
federal work study35,142
work study32,195
working while disabled27,568
work history26,700
military police21,226
special forces13,463
employment history12,034
employment verification11,707
gainful employment10,216

7. Locations and appointments

3.4 million searches

Searches for office locations and about how to make appointments were higher again in 2023 compared with 2020 and 2021, though still not as high as pre-pandemic levels.

Pie chart showing relative proportion of the top 25 search terms related to locations and appointments. The top four search terms represent about 55% of the chart, equally popular.
Top 25 search terms Number of searches
make an appointment107,747
make appointment71,585
schedule appointment67,258
local office45,835
visa appointment39,812
schedule an appointment37,569
office locator25,756
interview waiver20,549
visa interview16,775
schedule interview13,162
cancel appointment12,570
office locations12,346
reprogramar cita9,170
cita visa7,794

8. Weather and climate

2.3 million searches

Climate disasters are increasing in frequency, and 2023 broke many records, according to NOAA’s Office of Coastal Management. We saw an increase in weather and climate related searches in 2023 compared to 2022.

Pie chart showing relative proportion of the top 25 search terms related to weather and climate. The first and third most popular searches, 'hurricane center' and 'hurricane' represent over 25% of the chart.
Top 25 search terms Number of searches
hurricane center135,469
climate change80,915
hurricane lee28,002
solar storm18,812
hurricane tracker17,372
flood map16,285
el nino14,258
hurricane hilary14,071
aurora forecast13,352
global warming12,337
weather forecast11,443
hurricane idalia10,622
atlantic storms10,270
hurricane ian10,143

9. Login to systems

1.8 million searches

To receive services and benefits, the public usually needs to create an account with an agency system. Every year we see a consistently high number of searches for the login screen of these systems. Sometimes people just search for the word “login,” or “my account,” or sometimes they search for the name of the system. 2023 saw a decrease in searches for login and authentication compared to 2022. Though there is no obvious cause for this decrease, it may indicate that agencies are making it easier to find the login screen for their systems.

Pie chart showing relative proportion of the top 25 search terms related to logging in to government systems. The top three search terms, 'login' as one word, 'log in' as two words, and 'sign in' represent over 50% of the chart.
Top 25 search terms Number of searches
log in131,231
sign in78,875
my account46,197
create account32,858
change password32,557
delete account22,084
create an account20,512
reset password16,941
log out15,550
social security account15,190
sign up15,049
eiv login14,153
my social security account13,931
search defense finance and accounting service (dfas)13,796
forgot password11,041
sign out8,668
300 log8,417
sign up for medicare8,357
change bank account7,736
set up account4,803

10. Infrastructure

1.7 million searches

Our country is built on networks. Roads, bridges, rivers, wires, pipelines, towers, and more create the connections that are so critical to daily life. Searches for infrastructure related terms increased again in 2023 to 1.7 million.

One standout search in the top 25 this year is a complex query about electric vehicles that appears to have been run by a bot. A human searching like this would be unlikely to repeat the search more than 7,000 times.

In 2021 and previous years, this topic received a fairly consistent level of searches around 1.2 million.

Pie chart showing relative proportion of the top 25 search terms related to infrastructure. 'Transportation' is the most popular search term, representing nearly 25% of the chart.
Top 25 search terms Number of searches
electric and vehicle9,048
( electric vehicles or electric vehicle ) and (storage or battery or batteries or battery storage ) and (technology or innovation or new product or disruptor or start-up or start up or new player or new market entrant )7,135
electrical fatalities6,314
electric vehicle6,172
crude oil5,362
fish oil4,737
electrical safety3,998
electric vehicles3,787
utility allowance2,938
road conditions2,280
electric toothbrush2,248
high tunnel2,216
electric razor2,114

11. Coming to the United States

1.5 million searches

Searches related to immigration on websites integrated with were about 20% lower in 2023 compared to 2022. Reflecting the participating agencies, most searches were about visas and visa renewals.

Pie chart showing relative proportion of the top 25 search terms related to immigration and visiting the United States. The top two search terms, 'visa' and 'esta' represent about 40% of the chart.
Top 25 search terms Number of searches
green card67,060
green card lottery55,984
dv lottery27,461
visa renewal23,880
renovacion de visa22,965
renovar visa17,757
visa application17,753
diversity visa16,805
visa interview16,788
tourist visa16,721
renovacion visa15,822
renovación de visa13,066
renew visa11,164
student visa10,977
lost visa10,740
dv lottery 20259,939
visa fee9,564
transit visa8,539
cita visa8,092
national interest waiver7,888

* Esta is the Electronic System for Travel Authorization from the Department of Homeland Security.

12. Update personal data

900,000 searches

When we move house or make another significant life change, we need to let people know where and how to contact us. We change addresses or names, update bank accounts and phone numbers.

Nearly half of searches in this topic in 2023 were related to address changes. One third were related to name changes. Overall, in 2023 we saw a significant decrease in searches relating to updating personal data. We believe this is a sign of success with the many recent website redesigns. These redesigns put user needs first, and made sure people can find what they need.

Pie chart showing relative proportion of the top 25 search terms related to updating personal data with the government. 'Name change,' 'change address,' 'change of address,' and 'address change' represent nearly three quarters of the chart.
Top 25 search terms Number of searches
name change222,181
change address151,291
change of address140,978
address change103,248
change mailing address52,190
change name50,886
change phone number34,637
update address21,288
change my address12,979
change last name11,654
change my phone number8,299
change bank account7,923
change of address form7,442
change home address5,567
update phone number5,462
change of name5,408
last name change5,180
new account5,165
change email5,069
name change form4,980
new phone number4,689
change my name4,177
marriage name change4,175
change email address3,805
change direct deposit account3,316

13. Lost card

350,000 searches

People often need to replace a lost or stolen identification card. For many years, we saw a consistent number of searches related to this topic around 1.1 million. In 2023, however, we saw only 350,000 thousand. Normally this would not be enough to report as a top topic, but the change from previous years is remarkable. We credit this drop to the successful redesigns of many websites last year. Previously, people needed to search for instructions and forms, but now links to these resources are easily accessible on home pages and in menus.

Pie chart showing relative proportion of the top 25 search terms related to replacing lost identification.
Top 25 search terms Number of searches
replacement card48,333
replace social security card40,288
replacement social security card40,215
social security card replacement37,666
lost card16,670
replace card14,439
lost passport13,215
new card12,681
new social security card12,571
lost id11,625
replace medicare card9,133
lost social security card7,987
card replacement6,107
replacement ss card5,185
id card replacement5,114
replace ss card4,658
replacement medicare card4,507
lost medicare card3,718
stolen card3,059
new passport2,795
lost green card2,716
new ss card2,513
medicare card replacement2,153
lost ss card2,031
social security replacement card1,901
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