Census and population analysis

David Martin, Philip Rees, Helen Durham, Stephen A. Matthews

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter presents the development of a series of shared learning materials prepared to facilitate teaching in human geography. The principal focus of this work has been on how to use census data to understand socio-demographic phenomena such as ethnic segregation or neighborhood profiles. In this area, students are required to address a combination of substantive and methodological issues that are particularly well suited to blended learning. Much of the information describing population characteristics is itself published online and it is therefore necessary to engage with external online data resources in order to obtain and analyze information for specific study areas. Our teaching exemplars include those designed to develop students' understanding of the data collection process, for example through the use of an online census questionnaire; analysis methods, through the provision of visualization tools to show demographic trends through time; and substantive examples, by comparison between urban social geographies in the USA and UK. Particular challenges are presented by the different nature (format, content, detail) and licensing arrangements for the census data available for student use in the UK and USA. In the UK students and researchers access census data via a research council funded program of data support units, which provides access to data from four successive censuses. In the USA open access to extensive data holdings is provided by the national statistical agency, the U.S. Census Bureau. However, the UK National Statistics offices are providing an ever-larger portfolio of datasets online and available to all, facilitating international collaboration and the types of data being provided are developing rapidly to fill the gaps between censuses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationE-Learning for Geographers
Subtitle of host publicationOnline Materials, Resources, and Repositories
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9781599049809
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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