Population and Environment

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 141–163

Numerical Simulation of Population Distribution in China

  • T. X. Yue
  • Y. A. Wang
  • S. P. Chen
  • J. Y. Liu
  • D. S. Qiu
  • X. Z. Deng
  • M. L. Liu
  • Y. Z. Tian


A model for simulating population distribution (MSPD) of China is developed based on the grid generation method and the Control of MapObjects of geographical information system. Elevation, net primary productivity, land use and land cover, city sizes and their spatial distribution, and spatial distribution of transport infrastructures are taken into full account in the MSPD. The result from the MSPD shows that in 2000, 90.8% of the total population of China distributed on the southeastern side of the Heihe-Tengchong line. The ratio of population on the northwestern side to total population of China has been increasing since 1935. The yearly growth rate was 0.8% from 1935 to 1990 and 6.1% from 1990 to 2000. One important advantage of the MSPD is that when scenarios of land cover, spatial distributions of transport infrastructures and cities are available, scenarios of spatial population distribution can be developed on the basis of total population forecast.

population distribution numerical simulation grid generation geographical information system 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adams, J., (1968). A population map of West Africa, Graduate School of Geography discussion paper No. 26. London: London School of Economics.Google Scholar
  2. Ahuja, D.V., & Coons, S.A., (1968). geometry for construction and display. IBM Systems Journal, 7, 188–205.Google Scholar
  3. Bracken, I., & Martin, D. (1989). The generation of spatial population distribution from census centroid data. Environment and Planning A 21, 537–543.Google Scholar
  4. Cassedy, J. H. (1984). American Medicine and Statistical Thinking, 1800–1860. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Chen, H., & Zhang, W.C. (2000). Transport Geography of China. Beijing: Science Press (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  6. Chen, S. P., (2002). The spatial-temporal analysis of census. China Population, Resources and Environment 12(4), 3–7.Google Scholar
  7. Contanza, R., d'Arge, R., de Groot, R., Farber, S., Grasso, M., Hannon, B., Limburg, K., Naeem, S., O'Neill, R.V., Paruelo, J., Raskin, R.G., Sutton, P., & van den Belt, M. (1997). The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capitals. Nature, 387, 253–260.Google Scholar
  8. Cullen, J. (1975). The Statistical Movement in Early Victorian Britain: the foundation of empirical social science. Brighton: Hassocks.Google Scholar
  9. Deichmann, U. (1996). A Review of Spatial Population Database Design and Modeling. Technical Report 96–3, National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, USA.Google Scholar
  10. Dobson, J.E., Bright, E.A., Coleman, P.R., Durfee, R.C., & Worley, B.A. (2000). LandScan: a global population database for estimating populations at risk. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, 66(7), 849–857.Google Scholar
  11. Flowerdew, R., & Green, M. (1989). Statistical methods for inference between incompatible zonal systems. In M.F. Goodchild & S. Gopal (Eds.), Accuracy of Spatial Database (pp. 239–248). London: Taylor and Francis.Google Scholar
  12. Flowerdew, R., Green, M., & Kehris, E. (1991). Using areal interpolation methods in geographic information systems. Papers in Regional Science, 70, 303–315.Google Scholar
  13. Goodchild, M.F., Anselin, L., & Deichmann, U. (1993). A framework for the areal interpolation of socioeconomic data. Environment and Planning, A 25, 383–397.Google Scholar
  14. Goodchild, M.F., & Lam, N.S.N. (1980). Areal interpolation: a variant of the traditional spatial problem. Geo-Preocessing, 1, 297–312.Google Scholar
  15. Hu, H.Y. (1935). The distribution of population in ChinàLBOLE_LINK\(\ddot 4\);. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2(2), 32–74 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  16. Hu, H.Y. (1983). Discussions on Distribution of Population in China. Shanghai: Eastern China Normal University Press (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  17. Institute of Geography of Chinese Academy of Sciences. (1987). The Population Atlas of China. Hongkong: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Li, J.W. (2000). Opportunities and challenges facing the urban development of China in 21st century. In Liu, G.G. (Ed.), The Urban Development of China in the 21st Century (pp. 121–148). Beijing: Huixi Press (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  19. Lieth, H., & Whittaker, R.H. (1975). Primary Productivity of the Biosphere. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  20. Liseikin, V.D. (1999). Grid Generation Methods. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  21. Liu, J., Chen, J.M., Cihlar, J., & Park, W.M. (1997). A process-based boreal ecosystem productivity simulator using remote sensing inputs. Remote Sensing of Environment, 62, 158–175.Google Scholar
  22. Liu, J.Y., Liu, M.L., Zhuang, D.F., Zhang, Z.X., & Deng, X.Z. (2003). Study on spatial pattern of land-use change in China during 1995–2000. Science in China (Series D), 46, 373–384.Google Scholar
  23. Liu, M.L. (2001). Land-Use/Land-Cover Change and Vegetation Carbon Pool and Productivity of Terrestrial Ecosystems in China. Doctoral Thesis of Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research of CAS.Google Scholar
  24. Lo, C.P. (2001). Modeling the population of China using DMSP Operational Linescan System nighttime data. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, 67(9), 1037–1047.Google Scholar
  25. Martin, D., & Bracken, I. (1991). Techniques for modeling population-related raster databases. Environment and Planning, A 23, 1069–1075.Google Scholar
  26. Mennis, J. (2003). Generating surface models of population using dasymetric mapping. The Professional Geographer, 55(1), 31–42.Google Scholar
  27. Mirrison, D. (1962). Optimal mesh size in the numerical integration of an ordinary differential equation. J. Assoc. Comput. Machinery, 9, 98–103.Google Scholar
  28. Moxey, A., & Allanson, P. (1994). Areal interpolation of spatially extensive variables: a comparison of alternative techniques. International Journal of Geographical Information Systems, 8(5), 479–487.Google Scholar
  29. National Bureau of Statistics of People's Republic of China. (2001). China Statistical Yearbook. Beijing: China Statistics Press.Google Scholar
  30. Parr, J.B. (1985). The form of the regional density function. Regional Studies, 19, 535–546.Google Scholar
  31. Plane, D.A., & Rogerson, P.A. (1994). The Geographical Analysis of Population: with Applications to Planning and Business. New York: J. Wiley.Google Scholar
  32. Sidorov, A.F. (1966). An algorithm for generating optimal numerical grids. Trudy MIAN USSR, 24, 147–151 (in Russian).Google Scholar
  33. Sutton, P. (1997). Modelling population density with night-time satellite imagery and GIS. Comput., Environ. and Urban Systems, 21(3/4), 227–244.Google Scholar
  34. Sutton, P., Elvidge, C., & Obremski, T. (2003). Building and evaluating models to estimate ambient population density. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, 69(5), 545–553.Google Scholar
  35. Sutton, P., Roberts, D., Elvidge, C., & Baugh, K. (2001). Census from Heaven: an estimate of the global human population using night-time satellite imagery. International Journal of Remote Sesnsing, 22(16), 3061–3076.Google Scholar
  36. Sutton, P., Roberts, D., Elvidge, C., & Meij, H. (1997). A comparison of nighttime satellite imagery and population density for the continental United States. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, 63(11), 1303–1313.Google Scholar
  37. Tobler, W.R. (1979). Smooth pycnophylactic interpolation for geographical regions. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 74, 519–530.Google Scholar
  38. Tobler, W., Deichmann, U., Gottsegen, J., & Maloy, K. (1995). The Global Demography Project, Technical Report TR–95–6. National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, Santa Barbara, USA.Google Scholar
  39. Tobler, W., Deichmann, U., Gottsegen, J., & Maloy, K. (1997). World population in a grid of spherical quadrilaterals. International Journal of Population Geography, 3, 203–225.Google Scholar
  40. Urban Society and Economy survey Team of National Bureau of Statisitics of People's Republic of China. (2001). Urban Statistical Yearbook of China. Beijing: China Statistics Press (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  41. Woods, R., & Rees, P. (1986). Spatial demography: themes, issues and progress. In Woods, R. & Rees, P. (Eds.), Population Structures and Models: Developments in Spatial Demography (pp. 1–3). London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  42. Zhang, S.Y. (1997). Population Geography of China. Beijing: Business Press House (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  43. Zhao, S.Q. (1986). Physical Geography of China. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. X. Yue
    • 1
  • Y. A. Wang
  • S. P. Chen
  • J. Y. Liu
  • D. S. Qiu
  • X. Z. Deng
  • M. L. Liu
  • Y. Z. Tian
  1. 1.Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingP. R. China

Personalised recommendations