The Internal Revenue Service has so far delivered more than 163 million payments as part of the third round of stimulus checks that were authorized by President Joe Biden in March. But before the first checks went out, people were already anticipating a fourth one.
Since the middle of March, search interest in fourth stimulus checks has increased steadily, data from Google Trends shows, with the relative volume of searches building throughout the month of March and hitting a peak at the end of April.
Even more telling is where those searches are proving most popular. Over the last 90 days, West Virginia showed the highest proportion of searches for fourth checks, with a search interest of 100. This was followed by Mississippi with 81, Arkansas with 74, Kentucky with 65, and Oklahoma with 64.
Google measures search interest on a scale of 0 to 100 based on the percentage of searches a term gets within a population. What’s interesting is that the top five states for searches on fourth stimulus checks align very closely to research conducted a year ago about where stimulus payments have the most impact.
Back in April 2020, the real-estate website Ownerly used census data, home valuations, and the average stimulus payout per family to calculate which states were benefiting most from the first round of stimulus checks—the ones that were authorized by then-President Trump in March 2020. The top states? Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and South Dakota. In other words, four out of five of those same states also rank highest for people searching for updates on a fourth check. Clearly, many of the same Americans who most needed stimulus payments early in the pandemic still need them now.
Sadly, the path to getting a fourth stimulus check from the IRS is extremely narrow at this point. Although stimulus payments are popular with the American public, top economists, and many progressive lawmakers on Capitol Hill, political will for them has waned as the economy has shown signs of improvement. Biden’s ambitious American Families Plan, which he touted last week during his first address to Congress, doesn’t include stimulus checks.
For now, all we can do is hope—or join more than 2 million people who have signed an online petition demanding $2,000 a month.