Google Data Shows Where People Have And Haven’t Been Going During Pandemic

by 7 months ago
google data location coronavirus pandemic

Getty Image / Drew Angerer


Most governments around the world are electing to increase their surveillance efforts to monitor where people are going during the pandemic. With certain countries enforcing shelter-in-place orders, others on lockdown and most states around the U.S. shutting down all non-essential businesses it’s interesting to see where people are, and specifically aren’t, going right now.

Google, one of the big eyes in the sky, released aggregated, anonymized location data on Thursday from 131 countries showing how people are moving around at the moment. Google used location data from the beginning of the year – January 3 to February 6 – as a baseline average and then compared that to data to ‘2-3 days prior’ from their most recent update. The report recognizes Google Maps as one of the products used to compile the data.

To no surprise, the data shows significant changes in attendance to locations such as movie theatres and restaurants as well as grocery stores, pharmacies, transit stations, workplaces, parks, and residential areas.

Here’s a breakdown of the United States:

  • 47% decrease in retail and recreation.
  • 22% decrease in grocery and pharmacy visits.
  • 19% decrease in visits to parks.
  • 51% decrease in footfall to transit stations.
  • 38% decrease in going to workplaces.
  • 12% increase to residential locations.

Those numbers may seem shocking at first, but when you compare them to other countries that have been hit harder and have enforced much stricter lockdown measures, they don’t’ seem too outlandish.

Visits to retail and recreation in Italy have dropped by 94% and 85% to grocery stores. Spain has also seen a 94% dropoff in retail and recreational visits.

China wasn’t included in the data, but other Asian countries are actually showing an increase in certain numbers. Taiwan has shown just a 9% decrease in retail and recreational visits, but park visits have increased by 17% and there’s also been a 3% uptick to grocery stores.

South Korea, which has reportedly been flattening the curve for quite some time now, has seen an 11% increase in visits to grocery stores and a 51% increase to parks.

While it was no secret that Google and the government could (and already was) tracking our whereabouts, it makes things that much more real when you see this massive amount of data from all around the world.

[H/T Business Insider]

Mark is an associate editor and the resident golf guy here at BroBible. He earned a piece of paper that says he's a master of journalism and online media from The University of Tennessee, but the verdict is still out on that one.

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