An Audio Tour Through America’s Top-Ranked Podcasts

An Audio Tour Through America’s Top-Ranked Podcasts

Podcasts have grown increasingly popular over the past decade, becoming part of the daily routine of about one-in-ten Americans. Nearly half of Americans have listened to a podcast in the past year for many reasons, including to learn, for entertainment or just to have something to listen to while doing something else.

Last year, Pew Research Center conducted an analysis of top-ranked podcasts to take a close look at their key characteristics. 

The number and variety of podcasts has exploded, with no one topic making up more than a quarter of the top-ranked podcasts in the U.S. To offer a taste of the variety of topics the top-ranked podcasts represent, and to give a sense of what podcast listeners experience, we compiled clips from the shows we studied.

About a quarter of top-ranked podcasts are about true crime

% of top-ranked podcasts that are primarily about each topic

Self-help and relationships


pop culture and the arts

2 each: Money, Comedy, Religion

Podcast audio clips

In order presented:

  • My Favorite Murder, “Hollywood Phony”
  • Pod Save America, “Is Trump Really Up 10?”
  • The Wire at 20, “The Redheaded Stepchild”
  • The Happiness Lab, “How to Eat Intuitively”
  • Donut Racing Show, “How F1 Drivers Choose Their Racing Numbers”


Pew Research Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. This essay is based on a June 2023 report by Galen Stocking, Katerina Eva Matsa, Sarah Naseer, Christopher St. Aubin, Elisa Shearer, Mark Jurkowitz and Shreenita Ghosh. That report is a part of Pew Research Center’s ongoing investigation of the state of news, information and journalism in the digital age, a research program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, with generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Christopher Baronavski, Peter Bell and Michael Lipka provided editorial and design guidance. David Kent copy edited, and Christopher St. Aubin checked the accuracy of the text.

Related Articles