Questions and answers about
the UK economy.

Social distancing, internet access and inequality

We use data provided by Safegraph for the purposes of studying the spread of Covid-19 during February, March 2020 and the first week of April 2020. This data is derived from a panel of around 19 million devices that collect anonymous location data. Each of the users of these devices gave permission for their location to be tracked by a variety of mobile apps. Safegraph matches the location of these devices to a variety of locations of branded physical retail locations within the US, and its main business is focused on providing data on retail traffic to firms and analysts. However, Safegraph also shared data with researchers who are working on measuring the effects of the spread of coronavirus. For this purpose, it released data that tracks whether a device appears to leave its home or whether the device stayed at home the entire day.

Lead investigator:

Lesley Chiou


Occidental College

Primary topic:

Attitudes, media & governance

Region of data collection:

North America

Country of data collection


Status of data collection


Type of data being collected:

From private company

Unit of real-time data collection


Start date


End date




Read the results from this research