A categorical data analysis approach to estimation of demographic characteristics for Texas county populations

William D Spears, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The need for timely population data for health planning and Indicators of need has Increased the demand for population estimates. The data required to produce estimates is difficult to obtain and the process is time consuming. Estimation methods that require less effort and fewer data are needed. The structure preserving estimator (SPREE) is a promising technique not previously used to estimate county population characteristics. This study first uses traditional regression estimation techniques to produce estimates of county population totals. Then the structure preserving estimator, using the results produced in the first phase as constraints, is evaluated. Regression methods are among the most frequently used demographic methods for estimating populations. These methods use symptomatic indicators to predict population change. This research evaluates three regression methods to determine which will produce the best estimates based on the 1970 to 1980 indicators of population change. Strategies for stratifying data to improve the ability of the methods to predict change were tested. Difference-correlation using PMSA strata produced the equation which fit the data the best. Regression diagnostics were used to evaluate the residuals. The second phase of this study is to evaluate use of the structure preserving estimator in making estimates of population characteristics. The SPREE estimation approach uses existing data (the association structure) to establish the relationship between the variable of interest and the associated variable(s) at the county level. Marginals at the state level (the allocation structure) supply the current relationship between the variables. The full allocation structure model uses current estimates of county population totals to limit the magnitude of county estimates. The limited full allocation structure model has no constraints on county size. The 1970 county census age - gender population provides the association structure, the allocation structure is the 1980 state age - gender distribution. The full allocation model produces good estimates of the 1980 county age - gender populations. An unanticipated finding of this research is that the limited full allocation model produces estimates of county population totals that are superior to those produced by the regression methods. The full allocation model is used to produce estimates of 1986 county population characteristics.

Subject Area

Demographics|Social research

Recommended Citation

Spears, William D, "A categorical data analysis approach to estimation of demographic characteristics for Texas county populations" (1991). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9130697.