Again, 72% of internet users say they looked online for health information within the past year. For brevity’s sake, we will refer to this group as "online health seekers."
When asked to think about the last time they did so, 77% of online health seekers say they began at a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Another 13% say they began at a site that specializes in health information, like WebMD. Just 2% say they started their research at a more general site like Wikipedia and an additional 1% say they started at a social network site like Facebook.
Using a search engine is somewhat associated with being younger. For example, 82% of online health seekers age 18-29 years old say they used Google, Bing, Yahoo, or another search engine, compared with 73% of those ages 50 and older.
Overall, this pattern matches what we found in our very first health survey, conducted in 2000, when just half of U.S. adults had internet access. Then, as now, eight in ten online health seekers started at a general search engine when looking online for health or medical information.