Post Apocalyptic by the numbers

Posted by on Sep 02 2015, in apocalypticpost, keywords, Post Apocalyptic by the numbers, trends

Its been a very long time and no post – a few years in fact. Its been difficult to keep tabs on ‘post apocalyptic’ happenings in the media just because there has been so much of it. As far as my own voice was concerned, I felt like I didn’t have too much new to offer with so much new post apocalyptic work being done in the arts. This subject still interests me; just call it a bad case of blogger’s block.

So I will put my toe in the water once again and observe what the latest trends and figures are for ‘post apocalyptic’ over the decades by digging into Google Trends, Wikipedia articles, and Google Keyword Planner (an advertising tool).

Below is the graph from Google Trends showing the interest in ‘post apocalyptic’ searches since 2005:

What is interesting is the increase of both literature and films of this genre. For instance, a list of movies over time:

We are half to the next decade and it looks like film and it looks like the output of post apocalyptic films will double before 2020. This from another doubling of output from the 1990’s – before then it was pretty stable. Perhaps the list isn’t perfect – maybe not enough foreign movies or not ‘pure’ post apocalyptic – but regardless, it an interesting trend.

The chart below is rough (very rough) volume count of a Wikipedia article of post-apocalyptic themes through the decades. It is important to note is that for year, I used year the year of origin as some TV, movie, game and books series can cut across decades.  Below is a quick excel graph I whipped up after collating the decades from the above article:

This shows that we may have reached ‘peak post apocalyptia’ in early 2000’s; if the current trend continues, there will be less original post apocalyptic literature in the current than in the 1980’s. So while interest in the subject is trending up, as well as in films, new wellsprings of post apocalyptic art is possibly in the decline.

More specifically, below are some keywords taken from post apocalyptic searches per month from Google; it shows a pretty strong interest in the arts, including fiction, film, games, television and fashion. Not outrageously high number counts, but it displays that there is still a healthy interest in the subject matter.

Keyword Average Monthly Searches
post apocalyptic 33100
post apocalyptic fiction 18100
best post apocalyptic movies 6600
post apocalyptic books 6600
post apocalyptic games 5400
post apocalypse 5400
best post apocalyptic books 2900
post apocalyptic tv shows 2400
post apocalyptic clothing 2400
post apocalyptic romance 1900
post apocalyptic fashion 1600
post apocalyptic mayhem 1600
post apocalyptic anime 1600
best post apocalyptic games 1300
post apocalyptic series 1000
top post apocalyptic movies 880
post apocalyptic films 880
post apocalyptic world 880
post apocalyptic novels 880
post apocalyptic city 880
post apocalyptic definition 880
post apo 880
postapocalyptic 880
post apocalypse movies 720
post apocalyptic art 720
good post apocalyptic movies 590
post apocalyptic survival 590
post apocalyptic tv series 590
best post apocalyptic novels 480
post apocalyptic movie 480
post apocolyptic 480
post apocalyptic shows 480
post apocalyptic mmo 480
post apocalyptic rpg 480
post apocalyptic clothes 480

So based on these rough indicators gleaned from online research tools, it looks like post apocalyptic interest, especially in the arts, is increasing. The only caveat would be that perhaps original work is on the decline, with a greater emphasis on serialised content.

Is this a bad thing? Some very popular films and games spanned decades such as Mad Max (1970’s, 1980’s, 2010’s) and the Fallout Video Games (1990’s, 2000’s, 2010’s). A few have jumped genres across across the decades, such as the Walking Dead – from comic book to TV series. Whilst there is debate whether sequels ruin the original, I do think the cases above the content has remained fresh. That is a testament that the genre is standing the test of time.