Monday, August 03, 2020

Why Won't Wyoming Stay Home?

In 12 U.S. states people are visiting retail and recreation venues more now than they were before lock-down restrictions were put in place. In Wyoming retail and recreation venues have actually seen a 13% increase in visits over the February average. At the other end of the scale Washington D.C. is currently seeing a 48% drop in visits to retail and recreation venues on its February average.

Google's Community Mobility Reports provide insights into how people's movements in countries around the world have altered during the period of lock-down and also how mobility has changed since countries have begun to ease movement restrictions. 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 government lock-downs.

Google's Community Mobility Reports show that people in Wyoming just don't want to say home. You can explore this for yourself using Gramener's visualization of community mobility in each of Google's mobility categories.

Gramener's Community Mobility in the United States visualizes how visits in each of Google's movement categories has changed during the period between February 15 and June 23 in each state. The visualization uses small multiples to show the movement history in each state over time from before movement restrictions were imposed up until mid-June.

13 states in the United States now have higher transit station mobility than before the lock-down. Which suggests that in those states more people are using public transport than they were in February. I guess the lock-down is effectively over in those states which are showing increased levels of mobility in both the retail and transit categories. Wyoming is showing increased levels of mobility in both areas.

Apple's daily published Mobility Trends Report also provides a useful insight into how well different areas around the world are managing to restrict movement. The Apple Mobility Trends Reports shows the level of requests made on Apple Maps for walking, driving and transit directions.

Not that I'm obsessed about Wyoming but the Mobility Trends Report shows that there are more and more driving requests being made to Apple in that state. For Wyoming Apple currently only shows driving routing requests. On the latest day with recorded data (Aug 1) there was a 298% increase in the number of driving requests than were made on Jan 13. It is becoming more and more clear that people in Wyoming just don't want to stay home.

Facebook's Movement Trends uses a number of different metrics to estimate mobility rates for people in the USA and in other countries around the world. Currently Facebook's Movement Trends map of the United States shows just one state where the rates of mobility are not lower now than they were in February. You guessed it - that state is Wyoming. Wyoming also seems to have one of the lowest percentages of 'people staying put'.

Google's Community Mobility reports show that in Wyoming there is a 4% increase in people staying home since Feb 15 (the residential category). While it is encouraging that some people in the state are actually staying home more it is still the second lowest state percentage after Montana (3%). Washington D.C. has the highest increase, with a 20% increase in the number of people being tracked at home.

New confirmed cases in Wyoming

Google, Apple and Facebook all seem to show that people in Wyoming are on the move now more than they actually were before lock-down. Wyoming currently has one of the lowest death rates for Covid-19. The fact that people in Wyoming feel relatively safe and have less direct experience of the effects of Covid-19 might be one reason why people in Wyoming are less inclined to isolate at home than in other states. However if I lived in Wyoming I would also be very worried by the Johns Hopkins' Recent Trends graph, which is showing a steady uptick in the number of Covid-19 cases being reported in the state.


Unknown said...

Comparing to Feb.? How about year over year? Of course remote northern states have more activity in the summer. Much of the conclusions seemed flawed. Weather does play a role in much of this activity. Many southern states are flat because the weather doesn't change or gets worse in the summer.

Anonymous said...

I would also be curious to know if there are currently more people living there than typical due to people fleeing larger cities to go to their vacation homes.