Though popular media proclaims the world's obsession with Portland, the interest in our city has actually decreased over the last four years.
According to Google Trends, there's a sharp decrease in the interest in the search term "Portland, OR" after 2012. The peak point of interest? August 2004—that's seven years before Portlandia, and the same year Jack and Loretta White released the song "Portland, Oregon" on the Van Lear Rose album, PDX Pop Now! started and The Shins were featured in "Garden State." Anyone who took PSYCH 101 knows correlation doesn't equal causation…but it's interesting.
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Here's the data, graphed:
According to Google, "numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular."
We took a look at other cities too, and found that other large cities have also seen sharp decreases in interest. In particular, New York City and San Francisco.
Because Google's Interest Over Time mark is relative, things get more interesting when you compare Portland, OR searches to other cities. It turns out, people are much less interested in Portland than other cities.
We don't know whether to rejoice, or if we actually secretly liked being what we thought was the most popular city in the world.