Friday, April 03, 2020

Google Community Mobility Reports

There has been a 47% decrease in visits to recreational venues in the United States. In the last week the number of people visiting public space such as restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, libraries and movie theaters has fallen drastically according to Google's COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports. While this fall in visits represents a huge drop it is only half the drop which has been seen in Italy, where recreational venues have seen a 94% fall in the number of visits.

Google's new mobility reports provide insights into people's movements in countries around the world. The reports use aggregated, anonymized data gleaned from your mobile phones to chart movement trends over time. They show how visits to different categories of venues (retail & recreation, groceries & pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential) have been effected by the spread of Covid-19 and government lock-downs. In each of the categories of venue Google shows the percentage point increase or decrease in the number of visits. There percentage point changes are calculated in comparison to the median average on the corresponding day of the week, during Jan 3–Feb 6, 2020.

In terms of gauging where the U.S. is in terms of its stay-at-home efforts it is interesting to compare the mobility report of the USA with that of Italy's. The USA has seen a 12% increase in 'mobility trends for places of residence'. In Italy there has been a 24% increase in people being tracked as being at home. Italy has seen a 63% decrease in visits to workplaces while the USA has seen a 38% drop. Italy has seen a 90% drop in visits to parks while the USA has seen a 19% drop.

There are currently individual reports available for 131 countries around the world. In Google's continuing mission to make the world's data as inaccessible as possible the data can only be downloaded in PDF form. However in the UK the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has started to extract the data and make it available as a spreadsheet on GitHub.

The ONS spreadsheet of Google's data concentrates on the mobility reports for UK areas. However it also includes data at the country level for 24 major countries.


Greig Russell said...

GitHub link broken,

Keir Clarke said...

Thanks! I've updated the link.