TIL that there is a strong positive correlation between how…

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+4912 – TIL that there is a strong positive correlation between how fast someone walks and the population of the city that they’re from. If a city is 10x larger than another, people will walk 24% faster on average.

2022-04-04 14:21:47

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42 Comments
  1. I wonder how that correlates to stress levels

  2. I feel like there is more to it. I have been living in Michigan for the last 20+ years and when I went to Miami a couple years ago for vacation (Im a Florida native, not Miami though), I noticed everyone moved at a much slower pace. I am not even generalizing this for dramatic effect, we were walking around everyone on the streets, stores etc. Miami is way larger than any city ive lived in up here.

  3. I’m from a very rural area. I’ve always been one of the faster walkers in most groups I’ve been in.

  4. Years ago, there was a [study](https://brill.com/view/journals/beh/123/1-2/article-p77_5.xml) which found that the correlation between city size and walking speed could largely be accounted for by demographic differences between cities (e.g. larger cities tend to have more young people and young people tend to walk faster).

  5. Can confirm. From a decently large city, but travel for work frequently. Going to smaller areas, hitting a grocery store is incredibly frustrating with how slow people walk and don’t pay attention to the space around themselves.

    Not saying they’re trying to be rude or anything, just different social rules.

  6. Reply
    conjectureandhearsay April 5, 2022 at 1:12 am

    But I’m guessing a city in a hot climate generally has slower walkers than the same size city in a cold climate

  7. Reply
    ILikeToThinkOutloud April 5, 2022 at 1:12 am

    Tell that to Toronto. People here seem to love touching sidewalk.

  8. **TL;DR: Cities don’t make you walk faster, skewed averages lead to weird causation.**

    The causation is often different than it is portraied. The bigger a city is, the more niche jobs are viable, meaning a lot of younger people are able to work there. Why young people specifically? Because a lot of creative, new and/or network-heavy jobs are taken by younger people. There are a lot of other factors that add to the lure for young people, but importantly for this factoid, young people tend to walk way faster than older people. Meaning if you compare city demographics (a lot of young people) to a village demographic (heavily skewed toward 40+ y/os), you’ll naturally find situations like this.

  9. I don’t think this holds for Chinese cities, at least not when compared to demographically similar cities internationally. Maybe works within China small county seat to major first tier cities.

  10. I assume the number of fatties in a city has an impact too…

  11. There’s a RadioLab where a guy says he can watch you walk then tell you how many libraries your hometown had. He’s generally really close.
    Basically what the title says, speed reflects population. He just found the average library per capita in the US to figure that part out.

  12. Reply
    MycologistPutrid7494 April 5, 2022 at 1:12 am

    Anecdotal but I’m from a rural area originally and can outwalk just about anyone. Being high strung makes for a fast walker and maybe people from crowded areas are more likely to be high strung.

  13. I come from a town of about 500 people and not to brag, but even after running a marathon and having painfully sore quads I was still faster than 80% of folks at the grocery store (in a town of half a million).

  14. This completely falls apart in China. Giant cities and people walk absurdly slowly.

  15. I would love to see how this data compares to public tranist and walkability of cities.

  16. Any cheerleaders here?? Lmao I walk fast because I only have an 8 count to get there.

  17. So if someone from a city of population 1 million walks at 3 mph, then someone from a population of 4 million will walk at 67 mph?

  18. I wonder if size vs. density matters. What about people from small cities that are very congested and busy?

  19. Reply
    Comprehensive-Fun451 April 5, 2022 at 1:12 am

    The Lion King effect. You’ll get trampled by the wildebeest if you don’t hurry.

  20. In Tokyo, they don’t actually have a bullet train. It’s just a sidewalk.

  21. I got my fast walking from my overcrowded high school that gave you 4 minutes to get to the next class

  22. I’m from a “city” that has (had?) twenty-five houses total. I walk faster than anyone else I know.

    I think a control would need to be introduced for military service because that’s why I – and my wife – walk so fast.

  23. I’m from a village of about 200 people.

  24. Reply
    johncusackisnickcage April 5, 2022 at 1:12 am

    ITT: Anecdotal evidence

  25. I grew up in Hong Kong and always notice this when I’m not in a big city. Slow-ass walkers, plus those guys who stop in the middle of the pavement for no reason.

  26. My small town has 100 people and I walk about 4mph. By my math NYC residents must walk at around 11.5mph. I guess the movies get it wrong because I never see people sprinting through the streets.

  27. Get out of my way

  28. I felt this when I went to New York City for the first time in about 20 years recently. I’m from Portland, OR Andi never thought of us as “slow walkers,” but that all changed when I went to grab lunch on my first full days there. I was walking at a pace that I considered brisk, only to have people flying by me. A woman who looked to be in her early 70’s flew by me at one point and it was a real effort to match her speed. I left a bit sore because I tried to keep pace with everyone.

  29. Because there’s more sketchy shit to dodge when walking thru downtown of a very large city.

  30. To be the nerd…correlation is not causation (cackles)

  31. Mine wholly depends on intent. If I’m going for a walk alone as a form of moving – I’m walking at a sub 15min/mile (4mph). If I’m casually walking, I’m doing 3mph or less (20 min/mile).

    When I go to NYC – I’m walking with purpose. If you’re meandering, move aside.

  32. That’s neat to know. I’m curious about other factors in walking speed besides leg length. Everyone walks slow compared to me, but I think it’s mostly my need for efficiency, anxious energy and having very long legs (my inseam is 50% of my height and I’m pretty sure that’s not normal). I spent some time in NYC doing creative projects and it was a relief being able to walk normally, as I’ve mostly lived in very small towns or cities.

    There also the stereotype that gay people walk really fast. I wonder how true that is.

  33. Reply
    Eastern-Resolution15 April 5, 2022 at 1:12 am

    In new york you basically have to run or your gonna get robbed, spit on, flashed, peed on, or screamed at.

  34. Of course they would walk faster if not they would get knocked over.

  35. or being a northerner or southerner

  36. A bit flawed. By this logic, people in NYC would walk 240% faster than say, Reading PA.

    Average walking speed is 3 to 4 MPH. So the New Yorkers are running everywhere?

  37. I’m 6’7, everyone seems to walk slower in comparison.

  38. Maybe because a large portion of the walking prople are actually commuting using metros etc..?

    I don’t enjoy commuting so my travel time and path are optimized. Which means I have to run (just a little bit) between some points.

    When I go in a smaller city it would most likely be with my car. I don’t need to optimize my walking path and time to match public transportations.

    I mean, it’s a bit obvious…

  39. Maybe because people in denser cities tend to walk shorter distances but more frequently than those in the countryside. Say they’ll walk a short distance to the bus stop, to the local shop, or even all the way to work, and because these distances are short there’s less of a need to pace themselves. Whereas in the country you usually drive , but when you do walk you’re likely to be walking a longer distance, so you need to keep a slower pace that you can maintain.

  40. I had 74 kids in my class in rural Idaho. Pop of the entire valley growing up was under 6k, and I consistently walk faster than virtually all my friends.

    I think I learned it from my mom as she was walks the same speed.

  41. Haha I come from a village of 500 and my wife from a city of 2 mil. I walk twice as fast as her.

  42. i walk fast because that’s what i learned in the military…

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