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Courses : Syllabi : 760

Geography 760 Spatial Demography


Dr. John R. Weeks

Course Description

Spatial demography refers generally to demographic analysis that explicitly takes location into account. Demography is in fact an inherently spatial science, but the spatial side languished until recently, and is still in the process of gaining traction. A genuinely analytical spatial demography has arisen from two interconnected developments: (1) the advent of accessible geographic information systems and; (2) the development of spatial statistical techniques that can be applied to demographic data. Our goal in this seminar is to link demography, spatial statistics and GIScience into what we now call spatial demography. In this process, however, we are looking for new interpretations of how the world works demographically, and this may call for the integration of mixed methods into our research—fusing as much data and as many analytical techniques (from “soft” to “hard”) as are required to understand what is happening.


Your grade in this course will be determined by the following elements:

Books and Materials

The only required book that I ask you to buy for this course is Andy Mitchell, The ESRI Guide to GIS Analysis, Volume 2: Spatial Measurements & Statistics (Redlands: ESRI Press), 2005.

However, I do expect that you will have read my population text as background for the course. There are copies for sale at the bookstore, and a copy on reserve in the library, if you have not already read it: John R. Weeks, Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, Eleventh Edition (Belmont; CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning), 2011


Weekly Topics

Week Topic
Week One Introduction of participants and to what we intend to accomplish in this seminar. Review of major elements of demography and of spatial demography
Week Two Review of the work in Accra and in Charlotte and the data that we are going to be using in class and in the labs (and which you may use for your term project, if you choose); Discussion of space vs. place in demography
Week Three Review of non-spatial analytical approach to demography
Lab: Using SPSS to create measures of fertility and migration using data for Accra from the 2000 census, and then figuring out how to interpret the results
Week Four Introduction to spatial data
Lab: Mapping different kinds of demographic data
Week Five The use and abuse of statistical significance and American Factfinder
Lab: Using GeoDa to understand statistical significance of spatial patterns
Week Six No Class
Week Seven Global patterns of spatial autocorrelation
Lab: Using ArcGIS, GeoDa and Rooks Case add-in for Excel
Week Eight Clustering at the local level
Week Nine Overview of “Connecting the Dots Between Health, Poverty, and Place in Accra”
Week Ten Local clustering, continued
Lab: Using ArcGIS, GeoDa and Rooks Case add-in for Excel
Week Eleven Non-spatial clusters
Lab: K-means clustering of Accra and/or Charlotte neighborhoods
Week Twelve Using multivariate regression to test hypotheses about demographic data
Week Thirteen Multivariate approaches continued—Spatial filtering
Lab: Regression in SPSS, regression and spatial filtering in ArcGIS and spatial regression in GeoDa
Week Fourteen Multivariate approaches, dealing with spatial heterogeneity with Geographically Weighted Regression
Lab: GWR in ArcGIS
Week Fifteen Student presentations of term projects

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