Demography

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 1105–1128 | Cite as

New Approaches to Human Mobility: Using Mobile Phones for Demographic Research

  • John R. B. Palmer
  • Thomas J. Espenshade
  • Frederic Bartumeus
  • Chang Y. Chung
  • Necati Ercan Ozgencil
  • Kathleen Li
Article

Abstract

This article explores new methods for gathering and analyzing spatially rich demographic data using mobile phones. It describes a pilot study (the Human Mobility Project) in which volunteers around the world were successfully recruited to share GPS and cellular tower information on their trajectories and respond to dynamic, location-based surveys using an open-source Android application. The pilot study illustrates the great potential of mobile phone methodology for moving spatial measures beyond residential census units and investigating a range of important social phenomena, including the heterogeneity of activity spaces, the dynamic nature of spatial segregation, and the contextual dependence of subjective well-being.

Keywords

Spatial demography Activity space Segregation Subjective well-being Ecological momentary assessment 

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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. B. Palmer
    • 1
  • Thomas J. Espenshade
    • 2
  • Frederic Bartumeus
    • 3
  • Chang Y. Chung
    • 4
  • Necati Ercan Ozgencil
    • 5
  • Kathleen Li
    • 6
  1. 1.Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and Office of Population ResearchPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  2. 2.Office of Population Research and Department of SociologyPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  3. 3.Center for Advanced Studies of BlanesCEAB-CSICBlanesSpain
  4. 4.Office of Population ResearchPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  5. 5.SyncsortWoodcliff LakeUSA
  6. 6.GoogleNew YorkUSA

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