Those who cannot stay at home: Urban mobility and social vulnerability in Barcelona during the COVID-19 pandemic

Checa J.,
Martín J.,
López J.,
Nello O.
Document Type
Source Title
Boletin de la Asociacion de Geografos Espanoles
Asociacion Espanola de Geografia


The article analyzes for the metropolitan area of Barcelona, the differentiated behavior of the population with respect to daily mobility in a highly exceptional situation: the health and social crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The research is based on the analysis of the validations of the transport tickets on weekdays to access the railway transport modes (metro, suburban railway and tram), in relation to the mean income of the area where each of the accesses is made. The research starts from the hypothesis according to which the capacity of individuals to manage their mobility in the city is directly related to their income and social capital, that is, their greater or lesser vulnerability. The evidence provided confirms that during the period under study people living in vulnerable areas have been able to reduce their mobility less and more slowly than the rest of the population. This shows how, in a context in which low mobility becomes a precious resource when it comes to protecting one's health and well-being, the inability to reduce daily commuting becomes both cause and expression of social exclusion. © 2020 Asociacion de Geografos Espanoles. All rights reserved.

Migration angle
Region/Country (by coverage)