Session Details

Spatial Data Integration in Population Environment Research
(Event: PAA 2019 Annual Meeting)

Apr 10, 2019 8:00am - Apr 10, 2019 4:00pm
Session Type: Workshop


This workshop seeks to introduce participants to the spatial integration of data in the context of population studies. It will take advantage of the participants’ familiarity with sociodemographic data to discuss the fundamentals of data integration. The workshop will demonstrate the use of high spatial resolution information to produce indicators at different scales. It will focus on environmental information in raster format.

Taking advantage of the increasing availability of georeferenced data to integrate different sources of information is central to generating social indicators that are comprehensive, multidimensional and with high disaggregation, among population groups and in the territory. These indicators are increasingly needed in demographic research, particularly given growing interest in understating interactions between the social and environmental dimensions, as well as building indicators for small areas.

The combination of sources traditionally used by demographers (censuses, surveys, administrative records) with non-traditional data, such as remote sensing, is a promising path to respond to those methodological challenges. Data integration improves demographers’ capacity to better account for complex interactions, while considering processes occurring at different scales. On the other hand, a greater temporal and spatial resolution can contribute to making visible the vulnerability of different populations, as well as to improve the evaluation and monitoring of public actions.

Working directly with remote sensing imagines requires high degrees of specialization, training rarely provided in population studies curricula. However, in recent years, multiple efforts have been developed to facilitate access to high-resolution spatial data that can be more easily integrated with traditional sources. Such efforts are useful in numerous fields of demography, for instance, accessibility to health services; intra-urban vulnerability of the elderly; disasters, environmental impacts, migration and displacements; rural households and agricultural activity; urban expansion and health risks, among others.


Susana Adamo is a research scientist at the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (The Earth Institute, Columbia University). She holds a Ph.D. in demography/sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include environmental migration and displacement, social vulnerability and environmental change and all aspects of data integration related to demography and environment links, particularly global and regional georeferenced population databases. 

Deborah Balk is Associate Director of the CUNY Institute for Demographic Research. She is also a member of the CUNY Graduate Center faculty in the sociology, public health and economics programs. Her expertise lies in spatial demography and the integration of earth and social science data and methods to address interdisciplinary policy questions. Her current research focus is on urbanization, migration & population distribution, poverty and health, and environmental interactions, particularly climate change.

Mark R. Montgomery is a Professor of Economics at Stony Brook University and a Senior Associate in the Poverty, Gender and Youth Program at the Population Council in New York. In Stony Brook’s Ph.D. program, he teaches mathematical statistics, applied econometrics, mathematics for economists, and economic demography. From 1999 to 2003, Montgomery served as co-chair of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Panel on Urban Population Dynamics, and was lead editor of its 2003 report, Cities Transformed: Demographic Change and Its Implications in the Developing World (Washington DC: National Academies Press, 2003), a comprehensive demographic analysis of the economic, social, and political features of urbanization in poor countries.

Landy Sánchez is a professor at the Center for Demographic, Urban and Environmental Studies of El Colegio de Mexico (Mexico City). She holds a PhD in Sociology and a minor in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on population, environment and inequality, and her current projects looks at the distributional impacts of climate change.