Spatial Demography: An Opportunity to Improve Policy Making at Diverse Decision Levels
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- de Castro, M.C. Popul Res Policy Rev (2007) 26: 477. doi:10.1007/s11113-007-9041-x
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The number of applications of spatial demography has been growing mostly since the 1990s. Ranging from simple visualization to sophisticated spatial analytical techniques, these applications bring a new layer of explanation to demographic phenomena. This paper reviews demographic studies that specifically addressed space with spatial statistical models, and that focused on fertility, mortality, migration, and population models. Additionally, it summarizes different spatial datasets and software freely available, as well as the challenges that exist for the development of spatial demography applications. These challenges include confidentiality issues, scale problems, and the lack of training on spatial analysis in population centers. Although the first and second challenges involve modeling and technical solutions, the latter depends only on demographers’ commitment and willingness to promote change. Several topics for future spatially focused research are also outlined. Finally, the paper makes a strong case regarding the significant contribution that spatial demography can make to the monitoring, evaluation, and implementation of population policies.