Mobile phone data shows that San Francisco, California, is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic the slowest out of 63 major U.S. cities.
The latest data from the School of Cities at the University of Toronto confirms a conclusion from the beginning of 2023 when San Francisco came in last out of 62 cities.
The recovery index is “computed by counting the number of unique mobile phones in a city’s downtown area in the specified time period, and then dividing it by the number of unique visitors during the equivalent time period in 2019. For example, the March 2023 – May 2023 time period is compared to the March 2019 – May 2019 time period,” the report noted.
“A recovery metric greater than 100% means that for the selected inputs, the mobile device activity increased relative to the comparison period. A value less than 100% means the opposite, that the city’s downtown has not recovered to pre-COVID activity levels,” it went on to say.
San Francisco only scored 32%. In contrast, Salt Lake City, Utah, received a score of 139%, indicating that the city's downtown has actually grown since the outbreak.
The downtown regions of Fresno and Bakersfield, two cities in central California, had also seen an increase in mobile phone traffic. Nonetheless, Los Angeles' downtown mobile traffic was only 63% of its pre-pandemic level.
Chicago measured 52% while New York City is at 67%.
San Francisco's plight is a result of a number of issues, including economic limitations, a trend toward working from home in the computer industry, an increase in crime and homelessness, and more.
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