Love thy Aged? A State-Level Analysis of Religiosity and Mobility in Aging Populations during the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic


Objectives: We test whether the association between state religiosity and distance travelled is moderated by population age during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Methods: Mobility is operationalized as the state-level average median distance traveled from February 24 to May 4 across the contiguous United States. Shelter-in-place rates are operationalized as the state-level percentage of users staying home. State religiosity is measured with an index of aggregated religious identities, beliefs, and practices. Population age is indicated by the state percentage of adults aged 65 and older. We model population mobility using regression with state clustered robust standard errors. Results: We observe that religious states tend to travel more during the early stages of the pandemic. However, the behavioral risks associated with state religiosity are less pronounced in states with larger elderly populations. Discussion: We contribute to our understanding of the social patterning of pandemic mobility in aging populations.

Journal of Aging and Health, Online First
Kelsey E. Gonzalez
Kelsey E. Gonzalez
PhD Candidate

I’m a computational social scientist interested in using social data in new and innovative ways.