Foursquare’s data helps researchers understand what’s driving the spread of COVID-19

A new study featuring Foursquare mobility data looks at which age groups contribute the most to COVID-19 surges in the U.S.

Martin Adams

A new research report led by Imperial College London’s COVID-19 Response Team and supported by Foursquare’s mobility data found that people aged 20-49 are the most likely to contribute to the transmission of COVID-19. Using Foursquare data, the research team analyzed aggregated foot traffic patterns and found that this age group resulted in reproduction numbers well above 1 (meaning each existing infection among people aged 20-49 led to more than one new infection).

How Foursquare’s data was used: The study examined a national-level, aggregate mobility dataset comprised of device data via Foursquare’s first-party panel. User venue visits were aggregated and Census-weighted to estimate for the states and metropolitan areas Imperial College London analyzed to understand the daily percent changes in venue visitation for people across age cohorts.

The study looked at data from the start of the pandemic through October 2020 and determined that 65 of 100 COVID-19 infections in the United States originate from individuals aged 20-49.

Through its analysis, the study found:

  • Resurgent COVID-19 epidemics in the U.S. in 2020 have been driven by adults aged 20-49, and in particular, adults aged 35-49, before and after school reopenings
  • School reopenings have not resulted in substantial increases in COVID-19 attributable deaths
  • Across the U.S. as a whole, the mobility trends indicate substantial initial declines in venue visits followed by a gradual increase starting in early April for all age groups

For additional study findings and their potential implications, read the full paper in Science Magazine.

For related reports, see our “Data and Insights” blog section to find more analysis of COVID-19’s impact on mobility and consumer behaviors. Interested in learning about how location technology can illuminate insights important for your research or analytics team? Reach out to Foursquare.

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