Journal of Geographical Systems

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 307–316 | Cite as

Estimation of a continuous spatio-temporal population model

  • Javier Alvarez
  • Pascal MossayEmail author
Original paper


In this paper we propose a continuous spatio-temporal model that describes population change in a region in terms of population growth, migration drift towards regions with better economic or climate conditions, and population diffusion from more populated to less populated areas. Finite-differences are used to approximate the space and time derivatives. The model is estimated by using population data from the US census corresponding to the period 1790–1910. People tend to migrate from east to west, and to relocate towards regions with lower precipitation levels and more abundant coal and iron resources. Also population growth tends to be larger in zones with higher precipitation levels and higher temperatures.


Population dynamics Migration Diffusion Drift Estimation 

JEL classification

R23 C51 



We would like to thank the editor Manfred Fischer as well as three anonymous referees for their valuable comments that have helped to improve the clarity and quality of the paper. Financial support from the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología, under ERDF project SEJ2004-08011ECON, is acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis EconómicoUniversidad de AlicanteAlicanteSpain
  2. 2.Banco de EspañaMadridSpain

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