Lockdown Mobility Rates for Cities in The North, South and London

Over the course of 2020 we have seen reports of the pandemic affecting different parts of the UK in different ways, with age, industries and travel distances suggested as possible contributors.

Today we look at Huq’s measure of population mobility for England – that is, the extent to which residents of cities in different regions are travelling on average day by day. And side-by-side, there are clear contrasts.

Mobility rates for the north versus south England
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At the onset of the first lockdown, population mobility in London declined hardest, reaching levels 14.3pts below the wider national mean. As supported by trends derived from other data, it continued to lag the North and South over the summer before reading marginally higher at 2.5pts over the rest of the country during the second lockdown.

Resident mobility for cities located in the North of England also declined during the first lockdown, but to the least extent – falling to 81pts in late April – and re-surging to a high of 104pts in September, the highest figure for any group measured.

Mobility for residents of cities located in the South of England fell to 76pts during the first lockdown in April and recovered slowly to January levels in early September. During the second national lockdown, levels again fell but more gradually and only to 80pts – albeit the lowest of the set.

These results correlate closely with the level of Covid-19 infection observed across the country, and contribute to the suggestion of a relationship between population mobility and transmission with Northern areas reporting 66% of cases to date, the South 22% and London 12% (unweighted). (Source).


Huq Industries publishes high-frequency economic data across a range of themes derived from its first-party geo-mobility data. Our first-party, verified and compliant data supports a broad range of applications in financial services, real-estate, and public sector and CPG. Whichever research themes you are following, Huq offers a fast and reliable means to measure business and societal trends with confidence.