Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 26, Issue 5–6, pp 601–618 | Cite as

Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Data Processing in Demography: a Review

  • Michael ReibelEmail author


This paper reviews the use of geographic information systems (GIS) software for spatial data processing in demography. The review begins with an introduction to GIS. Next, it traces the three major types of spatial data problems confronting demographers: the geocoding and geoprocessing of microdata, estimation of detailed population surfaces, and combining data aggregated to incompatible zone systems. GIS and non-GIS solutions to these problems are contrasted, with examples from published research. Spatially pre-processed datasets available to demographers are then discussed. The author concludes by noting that the solutions GIS provides to previously intractable data problems in spatial demography might encourage a focus on dynamic processes of population change in local areas.


Areal interpolation Geocoding GIS Small area demography Spatial data processing 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and AnthropologyCalifornia State UniversityPomonaUSA

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