Synthesising the Geography of Opportunity in Rural Irish Primary Schools

  • Gillian GoldenEmail author
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Complexity book series (SPCOM)


Demand is growing for data-driven tools which can provide greater understanding of societal challenges. Synthetic populations generated from publicly-held microdata offer potential for policymakers to gain insight into pressing policy issues while respecting the right to privacy of the citizen. This paper offers an example of an application of synthetic populations to generate a social profile of primary school children in rural Ireland. A spatially explicit school population is developed using a novel approach; employing combinatorial optimisation techniques on full coverage census microdata, and information on school location and enrolment. The resulting population provides a realistic portrait of rural educational risk across Ireland and can be used for spatial risk profiling, as the basis for an agent-based model, and to simulate the possible impact of a variety of policy initiatives aimed at improving equity in the education system.


Rural disadvantage Synthetic population Spatial analysis Microdata for public policy Policy simulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dynamics LabUniversity College DublinDublinIreland

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