New techniques in small area population estimates by
Received: 22 September 2005 / Accepted: 22 September 2005 / Published online: 2 May 2007
Ó Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007
Abstract The increasing demand for small area population estimates calls for both
innovative ways of using existing data and new techniques suitable for small area
estimates. This paper explores the methods for population estimates by age, sex,
race, and Hispanic origin at the census tract level for Multnomah County, Oregon.
New techniques include employing building permits to indirectly estimate migration
and examining the changes in age/sex structure using the American Community
Survey (ACS). A practical method for bridging the race categories is also devel-
oped. Finally, the paper discusses some reﬂections on small area estimates and the
potentials of using ACS to track the changes of the demographic characteristics for
the sub-county level.
Keywords American Community Survey Á Census tract Á Population estimates Á
Race bridging Á Small area
One of the trends in applied demography is that there is an increasing demand for
small area population estimates by demographic or socioeconomic characteristics.
Local governments use them to assess the needs for schools, parks, public trans-
portation, and health-prevention programs, and to evaluate the impact of public
policies. While some of these estimates can be made with a survey instrument, most
others would need to rely on population estimate methods. The need is for both
innovative ways of using existing data and new techniques that are suitable for
smaller area estimates.
Q. Cai (&)
Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, University of Virginia,
Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA
Popul Res Policy Rev (2007) 26:203–218