Local News

North Carolinians on the move more as businesses open up

Posted April 7, 2021 4:49 p.m. EDT
Updated April 7, 2021 4:58 p.m. EDT

The University of Washington uses cell phone data to track how much people are staying put and compares it to habits before the pandemic hit. A year ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, people's mobility dropped off by nearly 50 percent in our state.

In January of this year, North Carolinians were still moving around about 30 percent less than they were before COVID, but now, that number is at 11 percent -- meaning many more people are out and about than just a few months ago.

On the move: RDU air travel is rebounding and more people are heading into the office

These mobility changes come as more people are getting vaccinated.

There are more than 10 million people in North Carolina, and more than 30 percent of them have received a vaccine dose in the three and a half months they've been available.

But we know only those over 16 are eligible for the vaccines right now. For adults in the state, those 18 and up, the statistic changes to almost 40 percent. Two-thirds of residents who are 65 and older are now fully vaccinated.

If we look more closely at the demographics of who has gotten the shot, North Carolina residents who are Black are still slightly under-represented. While they make up 23 percent of the population, the data shows only about 16 percent of people who have been vaccinated are Black. There is a similar disparity among the Hispanic community as well, which makes up nearly 10 percent of the state, but about half that percentage of those vaccinated.

Meanwhile, in neighboring states which are slightly more open than ours, mobility rates are closer to pre-pandemic trends. Data from Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee shows movement there is less than 10 percent lower than it was in early 2020.

Of our neighboring states, only Virginians are staying home more, at 17 percent below pre-pandemic rates.

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