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Researchers say Mass. ranks high in social distancing

Social distancing was observed as hundreds of people lined up to receive food and goods donated to the Chelsea Collaborative Inc.JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

Massachusetts residents have done a relatively good job in social distancing, according to a ranking by researchers from the University of Maryland.

The researchers say Massachusetts has consistently been near the top of its class in their social distancing index, a measure where 0 means there is no social distancing and 100 means everybody is staying at home and no visitors are entering their counties.

As of Friday, Massachusetts scored a 60, tied with Hawaii. Only the District of Columbia (69) and New York and New Jersey (tied at 65) scored higher.

From March 1 to Friday, Massachusetts’ average score was 51, compared with the District of Columbia (60), New York (56), and New Jersey (55).


The national index was at 44. The least socially distanced state was Wyoming at 23, followed by Montana at 24.

The social distancing index is calculated from several factors, including the percentage of people taking no trips of more than 1 mile from their home, as well as other data, including the number of work and non-work trips, and travel distances.

“With privacy-protected data from mobile devices, government agencies, health care systems, and other sources, we are ... studying the multifaceted impact of COVID-19 on our mobility, health, economy, and society,” the researchers said on the website where they are sharing their findings.

Another window into how people are moving around now that they are supposed to be staying close to home is offered by Apple, which has developed Mobility Trends Reports that reflect requests for directions in Apple Maps.

The chart for Boston shows requests for driving directions were down 42 percent, while requests for walking directions were down 49 percent, and for transit directions down 81 percent. All three trends appeared to be moving up slightly as of Saturday.


Martin Finucane can be reached at