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New Mobility Data: How Different is Sweden?

It remains complicated to pinpoint the best strategy for mitigating the impact of the coronavirus, both on the short-term and long-term well-being of entire populations. Sweden has been something of a black sheep in its decision to opt out of the complete shutdown strategy that’s been followed by most countries. There are both critics and proponents of Sweden’s decisions, as well as cultural and demographic factors that affect how this strategy is playing out in Sweden. But the fact is that, with very minimal restrictions, Sweden has not seen very high exponential growth in new cases.

One explanation as to why Sweden averted uncontrolled growth in the number of COVID19 cases is that enough people have restricted their social activity even without a mandate to do so. We’ve recently added mobility data from various sources, including the Citymapper Mobility Index and Google’s mobility data, to the Macrobond database.

Citymapper Mobility Index

The Citymapper index allows us to observe how many journeys were planned across the largest cities in different countries and compare them to each other. The data indicates that although Sweden did not implement a policy of mobility restrictions, Swedes in Stockholm have traveled less within the city, appearing to self-isolate almost as much as inhabitants of other big cities around the world. With Macrobond’s intuitively structured database, we were able to quickly plot the Citymapper Mobility Index for the biggest cities of some of the hardest-hit countries and compare their decline in mobility to Stockholm’s.

The only city with a higher mobility index than Stockholm since mid-March has been Seoul, South Korea.

We’ve also plotted Google’s mobility data, which includes mobility to grocery stores and pharmacies, parks, residentials, retail and recreation facilities, transit stations and workplaces.

In the first chart we took the average of all component excluding parks as the improved spring weather in many countries has driven people to visit parks more compared to February. Here, we can see a similar pattern as in the Citymapper data, with Sweden’s activity decreasing quite a bit, though less than other countries.

Note: here, we’ve plotted country-wide aggregates, but we also carry this data regionally.

Park visits are up since February in many of these countries, especially where policies have allowed for greater freedom of movement for exercise.

It’s quick to pick up and play with datasets such as this one in our built-in analytics platform, where you can immediately visualize every step of the analytical process. Don’t have Macrobond? Try it for free.

Below is a list of the data that’s been added to the Macrobond database in the past 2 weeks.

Data Additions by Country / Region


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