Social distancing isn’t available for everyone

For Reuters, Chris Canipe looks at social distancing from the perspective of household income:

Anonymized smartphone data in the United States shows some interesting trends. People in larger cities and urban corridors were more likely to change their travel habits, especially in early March. By the end of the month, most U.S. residents were traveling dramatically less than they did in February, but social and demographic differences were strong predictors of how much that changed.

The above shows median change in distance traveled against median household income by county. Note the downwards trend showing counties with lower median incomes with less change in travel.

For many, it’s not possible to work from home or it isn’t safe to stay at home. Don’t be too quick to judge.

An aside: There are bigger things to concentrate on right now, but after this is all done, I feel like we need to think more about who has access to our location via cellphone. Clearly the data has its uses, but that’s not always going to be the case.