areal: An R package for areal weighted interpolation


Population data are often available at various levels of aggregation, such as census tracts or block groups in the United States or output areas in the United Kingdom. These units are often drawn for convenience and not because they represent some commonly accepted area in residents’ lived experiences. Despite this, researchers often use them as proxies for neighborhoods since they come with readily available demographic data. Researchers who do wish to move past these proxies and produce population estimates for other geographies typically resort to developing their own, often manual, implementations of the areal weighted interpolation workflow. This paper summarizes software developed for the programming language R aims to reduce the barriers to the implementation of areal interpolation in spatial researchers’ work. The software provides a reproducible process for validiating and estimating population values, and also offers a number of approaches for estimating those values.

In Journal of Urban Affairs