July 7, 2022

the French travel more and spend less time at home than their European neighbors

Every day, the numbers go crazy. With an average of nearly 361,000 new daily contaminations as of January 24, according to data from Public Health France (FPF), France is one of the countries with the highest number of new cases of Covid-19 in Europe. .

“We have favored freedom of movement, especially for the holidays, where other countries have implemented harsh measures”, assumed Olivier Véran, the Minister of Health, on LCI, Tuesday, January 25. In fact, various indicators show that, despite an intense fifth wave, the French are indeed more mobile than their European neighbors.

This is what the travel data published by Google show. Since the start of the pandemic, the company has uploaded aggregated and anonymized files based on the geolocation information of its mobile users. This makes it possible to quantify the mobility of the population in all the countries of the world. After comparing the number of people having used transport, a place of work or the time spent at home with this same data in normal times (early 2020), Google publishes a percentage of variation allowing to know to what extent the population remains more At her place. Or on the contrary, is more mobile.

The French travel more than their European neighbors

First telling indicator: the frequency of use of public transport identified by Google when a user uses the metro, bus or train, for example. As of January 20, 2022, the French used transport less than at the start of 2020, since their use has decreased by 19%.

But as the graph below shows, this drop is less steep than in other European countries. In the UK it is almost twice as high, at 36.9%, and in Denmark it is 33.7%. The Spanish figures are more similar to those in France, with a 20.8% reduction in transport ridership.

The government has also been urging those who can to encourage teleworking for months. Since January 3, 2022, companies that have the possibility are required to set three to four days of distance per week. This results in less frequentation of workplaces, according to the analysis of data provided by Google: on January 20, 2022, there was a drop in frequentation of these places, up to around 17%, compared to the beginning of the year. year 2020. This is a steeper drop than before the December holidays, when it was only around 7%. But it is difficult to know in what proportion this is due to sick leave.

Here again, the comparison with the data of our European neighbors shows a greater mobility of the French. As the curves below show, on January 20, the drop in attendance at workplaces was, for example, greater in the United Kingdom (-22.7%) or in Denmark (-19.9%). Only Germany was above (-10%) the French level. The trough observed on the chart between mid-December 2021 and early January 2022 corresponds to the end-of-year holidays.

Evolution of attendance at the workplace in several European countries (FRANCEINFO)

The French spend less time at home than in previous waves

Mirroring the decline in use of transport and workplaces, there is an increase in time spent at home, also calculated by Google.

Currently, according to data provided by Google, the French spend 6.8% more time at home compared to the beginning of 2020. But if we compare this period to those where the number of hospitalizations was similar (during the first three waves), this increase in the time spent at home in recent weeks is smaller.

This is what the curve below represents: in red, the home attendance indicator during previous epidemic peaks. While it was +30% in March 2020, it fell to +16% in winter 2020, and to +14% in spring 2021.

Evolution of home visits in France since March 2020 (FRANCEINFO)

Ile-de-France residents are a little less mobile than residents of other regions

But is the whole of France concerned in the same proportions by this development? By observing the increase in home attendance by region, we realize that Ile-de-France is experiencing, as of January 20, 2022, a 9.5% increase in the time spent at home compared to the beginning of the year. 2020. The highest increase known by the French regions. By way of comparison, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes experienced an increase of 6.8% and Brittany of 5.1%.

Increase in home visits by region (FRANCEINFO)

These territorial disparities are hardly surprising, and should be compared to the differences in teleworking capacity of population areas, for example. During the second confinement, in the fall of 2020, franceinfo had shown a correlation between the drop in attendance at workplaces and the share of senior executives among the assets of a territory, these executives being more likely to work remotely.