Analysis: People's mobility similar to emergency situation last spring

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People's mobility has decreased as a result of the lockdown restrictions introduced on March 11 and resembles that of the emergency situation period of last year, the first results of Statistics Estonia's new mobility analysis show.

Deputy Director General of Statistics Estonia Andres Kukke said the analysis confirms the impact of new restrictions on the movement of people.

"New restrictions have been in place since last Thursday and there has been decreased mobility compared to the previous weeks. The anonymous aggregate data show that until March 11, mobility was higher than during the emergency situation in 2020. Since the additional restrictions were introduced, mobility has fallen to the average level of last year's emergency situation. Usually, people move around the most on Fridays. We compared the mobility of March 12 to the previous two Fridays and saw that, since the additional restrictions, mobility has decreased in all counties by 5–7 percentage points. Mobility is greatest in Harju and Tartu counties," said Kukke.

The analysis is commissioned by the government, and Statistics Estonia together with Telia, Tele2 and Elisa, are conducting mobility analysis based on anonymous data of the mobile networks until the end of April. 

The results of the mobility analysis are published at https://liikumisanalyys.stat.ee/.

The goal of the mobility analysis is to help the government evaluate the impact of adopted measures on the movement of people, assess change in the risk of infection and effectively plan communication in Estonian regions.

Description of mobility analysis method

For the mobility analysis, mobile network operators use methodology developed in co-operation with Statistics Estonia, which ensures reliability and comparability.

Each network operator prepares a separate mobility analysis, using anonymous data from their own network as source data. They calculate the main location of each mobile phone number by determining the mobile phone masts that the number is connected to the longest in a 24-hour period. Both average and maximum distance from the main location are taken into account. It is not possible to identify or analyse movement patterns of individuals based on the anonymous data. The mobility analysis covers only Estonia and does not show in which countries Estonian residents have been.

The results are generalised at the level of municipalities and, when possible, at a more detailed level (e.g. by urban regions in Tallinn and Tartu). Statistics Estonia reviews the aggregate data received from the mobile operators and calculates the rate for staying local for the whole country, which is used to produce results, such as "87% of the mobile phones in XXX area remain local". The enterprise Positium visualises the mobility analysis results on the Estonian map, available at https://liikumisanalyys.stat.ee/.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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