Progress in spatial demography

Stephen A. Matthews, Daniel M. Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND Demography is an inherently spatial science, yet the application of spatial data and methods to demographic research has tended to lag that of other disciplines. In recent years, there has been a surge in interest in adding a spatial perspective to demography. This sharp rise in interest has been driven in part by rapid advances in geospatial data, new technologies, and methods of analysis. OBJECTIVES We offer a brief introduction to four of the advanced spatial analytic methods: spatial econometrics, geographically weighted regression, multilevel modeling, and spatial pattern analysis. We look at both the methods used and the insights that can be gained by applying a spatial perspective to demographic processes and outcomes. To help illustrate these substantive insights, we introduce six papers that are included in a Special Collection on Spatial Demography. We close with some predictions for the future, as we anticipate that spatial thinking and the use of geospatial data, technology, and analytical methods will change how many demographers address important demographic research questions. CONCLUSION Many important demographic questions can be studied and framed using spatial approaches. This will become even more evident as changes in the volume, source, and form of available demographic data-much of it geocoded-further alter the data landscape, and ultimately the conceptual models and analytical methods used by demographers. This overview provides a brief introduction to a rapidly changing field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-312
Number of pages42
JournalDemographic Research
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography


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