Population Association of America Annual Meeting
15–17 April 2010
"Conceptualizing and measuring urban locations: Comparing a satellite view with the Demographic and Health Surveys"
Audrey Dorelien, Deborah L. Balk, Megan Todd, and Mark R. Montgomery
There is widespread awareness that the world is becoming increasingly urban, both in terms of urbanization and urban expansion. However, understanding of these trends is limited by the lack of a consistent framework: there is no standard definition of an "urban" area nor agreed-upon spatial boundaries of them. By comparing Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data, which use each country’s rural/urban classification system, against the Global Rural Urban Mapping Project (GRUMP) data, which primarily use night-time lights as an urban proxy, we are able to better understand what is meant by "urban" in the two data sources and to learn more about how to conceptualize an urban continuum. This is achieved by analyzing the distribution and characteristics (i.e., household electrification, rural/urban classification, poverty) of DHS clusters falling in and out of GRUMP urban extents.
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