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Commuting Zones

Facebook Commuting Zones are geographic areas where people live and work. Similar to commuting zones built by the United States Department of Agriculture, our zones can cross political boundaries and can be useful to understand local economies, areas in which people spend the majority of their time and how diseases might be transmitted. For each Commuting Zone, we include its shape, as well as metrics about its economic and commuting characteristics.

Features

Timely

Traditional commuting zone estimates are developed using census data which is updated once every 10 years in the United States. Facebook Commuting Zones can be updated every few months in order to capture local economic and commuting changes.

Global Reach

With over 2.5 billion active users globally, Facebook is able to provide the first comprehensive estimate of commuting zones at an international level.

Privacy

Facebook Commuting Zones are a set of boundary shapes, and the links between places are not revealed. Data used to build commuting zones is aggregated and anonymized.

Who Uses Commuting Zones

Universities and researchers

Universities and researchers can use Commuting Zones to understand areas where people spend the majority of their time. This can help researchers to understand local economies—independent of political borders—as  well as how diseases might spread based on where people reside.

Non-profits

Nonprofits interested in understanding the economic and commuting characteristics of specific locales, or surveying individuals in different types of communities can benefit from our commuting zones.

Methodology

We aggregate users’ home and work locations to create a graph that measures movements between locations over the previous few weeks. Home and work locations are assigned to users based on information they provide and location services they have opted into (to learn more about how Facebook uses location data and how to control location privacy see Location Privacy Basics).   We then use a community detection algorithm to identify clusters that represent commuting zones, and build our commuting zone shapes by using another partitioning methodology. Click on Learn More below to read more details about our methodology.

Learn More

Contact Us

If you have any questions or if you would like to request access to this data, please email disastermaps@fb.com.

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