Amid a flood of superheroes, Billie Eilish stands apart: Wikipedia’s most popular articles of 2019

Which English Wikipedia entries got the most views this year? Here’s the top 25.

Wikimedia
Wikimedia
Dec 27, 2019 · 3 min read
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Billie Eilish. Photo by crommelincklars, CC BY 2.0.

You should see me in a crown
I’m gonna run this nothing town
Watch me make ’em bow
One by one by one

Billie Eilish, “You Should See Me In A Crown” (2019)

illions of people visited Wikipedia over the course of a chaotic 2019, and we now have the data to say what they were most interested in. Let’s all kneel before Thanos, whose Avengers: Endgame ruled over all of us.

The film, the culmination of over a decade of storytelling across nearly two dozen films, is now the highest-grossing film of all time. As such, it seems fitting that it should be the most popular English Wikipedia article of 2019, garnering over 44 million pageviews.

Avengers: Endgame was in fact only the harbinger of things to come, as the year’s list of most popular Wikipedia articles is dominated by film and television series to a degree we haven’t seen before.

Seventeen of the top 25 articles are related to the media people consumed in theaters and on their devices. At least five of those are directly fueled by the dominance of superhero films, including all three films released by Marvel in 2019. Still, there are also several real-life topics like the Chernobyl disaster, the subject of a dramatic miniseries aired by HBO this year.

Nestled within all of those articles, one outlier stands out in the top ten: Billie Eilish, the ninth-most popular article of the year. The entertainer’s album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? was released last March and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 list, making Eilish the first artist born in the 2000s to have such a hit.

Courtesy of researcher Andrew G. West, here are the top 25 most popular articles on Wikipedia from the past year.

  1. Avengers: Endgame, 44,159,830 pageviews
  2. Deaths in 2019, 38,434,061 (see notes below)
  3. Ted Bundy, 29,334,592
  4. Freddie Mercury, 27,358,657
  5. Chernobyl disaster, 25,493,154
  6. List of highest-grossing films, 24,933,436
  7. Joker (2019 film), 22,848,283
  8. List of Marvel Cinematic Universe films, 21,865,076
  9. Billie Eilish, 20,741,313
  10. Keanu Reeves, 16,891,641
  11. Jeffrey Epstein, 16,147,371
  12. Elizabeth II, 15,795,572
  13. Captain Marvel (film), 15,756,835
  14. Game of Thrones (season 8), 15,690,793
  15. Game of Thrones, 15,423,792
  16. Donald Trump, 15,224,884
  17. List of Bollywood films of 2019, 14,804,884
  18. United States, 14,569,088
  19. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, 13,725,337
  20. Spider-Man: Far From Home, 13,614,704
  21. YouTube, 13,504,863
  22. The Mandalorian, 12,035,150
  23. 2019 in film, 11,690,826
  24. Jason Momoa, 11,505,267
  25. Nipsey Hussle, 11,411,893

Notes

  • A previous version of this blog post used a dataset that was complete up to 15 December 2019. We updated this list on 2 January 2020 with data from the final two weeks of 2019.
  • As with every year we’ve done this list, the top articles are screened using the percentage of mobile views. Any article with less than 10% or more than 90% mobile views was removed, as it is a strong indicator that a significant amount of the pageviews stemmed from spam, botnets, or other errors.
  • Previous most-popular Wikipedia articles by year lists are available for 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015.
  • Volunteer Wikipedia editors split the “Deaths in [current year]” articles at the end of each month to make reading it more manageable. Then, at the end of 2019, “Deaths in 2019” was redirected to the “lists of deaths by year.”
  • This dataset comes to us via research Andrew G. West, who has put together a robust listing of the top five thousand most popular Wikipedia articles of 2019.

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