The coronavirus pandemic in the United States — which again is growing at a fierce pace with about 1 million new cases recorded in June — is reshaping society in many ways, from how we work and buy groceries to how we move and where we choose to go. With most states in various stages of reopening their economies, people’s movements have changed significantly.
24/7 Tempo analyzed population mobility data from Google to determine how the geographic movement of people has changed in every state.
In the week from June 26 until July 3, during which most states were in advanced phases of reopening, Americans were staying at home on average 8.9% more than during Google’s baseline period before the pandemic. This was inline with the difference from the base period in each of the three weeks prior. During the weeks ending June 26, June 19, and June 12, Americans stayed home on average 8.6%, 8.6%, and 9.6% more than during the base period.
Google used the five weeks between Jan. 3 and Feb. 6, 2020, as the baseline period — a period with a typical amount of travel before social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders were issued.
In our review, we included mobility data in several categories, including residential and workplace mobility; grocery and pharmacy mobility; and, parks mobility (public parks and beaches).
With the onset of summer, and after months of being strongly encouraged — and in some cases mandated — to stay home, the biggest change in mobility across the country has been in park visits.
Visits by Americans to parks, national parks, beaches, and other places for recreation in the week leading up to July 3 are up by 64.1% compared to the weeks between Jan. 3 and Feb. 6. Park visits were positive in all but four states — Hawaii, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada. The latter three are now on travel advisory lists because of high infection rates.
In the recreation and retail category there wasn’t the same change in mobility. People went out on average 11.4% less than during the pre-pandemic period of Jan. 3 – Feb. 6. Even though restaurants, bars, and other entertainment venues and businesses have reopened, it appears that most people are choosing to stay home. This was also the case across most of the United States, except in 18 states where the frequency of shopping and dining out was higher in the week through July 3 compared to before the pandemic.
The public transit use trend was still negative in 31 states. Only five states — Idaho, West Virginia, Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming — saw an increase of more than 20% in public transit mobility. These states are generally with the lowest number of COVID-19 cases per capita.
As of July 8, the number of recorded cases of COVID-19 in the United States neared 3.1 million. Many states and major cities are reporting a second wave of coronavirus cases after reopening their economies — these are the states where the coronavirus is spreading the fastest right now.