A Comparative Analysis of Small Area Population Estimation Methods

Authors: Brinegar, Sarah J.; Popick, Stephen J.

Source: Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 1 November 2010, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 273-284(12)


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A number of areal interpolation methods have been developed to estimate population for overlapping, discontinuous, or fragmented areas. Previous studies examined the relative accuracy of various methods; this research advances those endeavors by comparing the effectiveness of seven different methods using a national random sample of census block groups and blocks. As the results show, the areal interpolation methods produce good population estimates for nested census blocks except in areas of heterogeneous land use or unusual contexts. In addition, estimation conducted in areas with small populations or low population density was vulnerable to high percentage error. Amongst the different methods, road network allocation and statistical regression (with area and roads as predictors) produced the best population estimates for the sample blocks.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1559/152304010793454327

Publication date: November 1, 2010

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