The Use of Census Migration Data to Approximate Human Movement Patterns across Temporal Scales

Amy Wesolowski, Caroline O. Buckee, Deepa K. Pindolia, Nathan Eagle, David L. Smith, Andres J. Garcia, Andrew J. Tatem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Human movement plays a key role in economies and development, the delivery of services, and the spread of infectious diseases. However, it remains poorly quantified partly because reliable data are often lacking, particularly for low-income countries. The most widely available are migration data from human population censuses, which provide valuable information on relatively long timescale relocations across countries, but do not capture the shorter-scale patterns, trips less than a year, that make up the bulk of human movement. Census-derived migration data may provide valuable proxies for shorter-term movements however, as substantial migration between regions can be indicative of well connected places exhibiting high levels of movement at finer time scales, but this has never been examined in detail. Here, an extensive mobile phone usage data set for Kenya was processed to extract movements between counties in 2009 on weekly, monthly, and annual time scales and compared to data on change in residence from the national census conducted during the same time period. We find that the relative ordering across Kenyan counties for incoming, outgoing and between-county movements shows strong correlations. Moreover, the distributions of trip durations from both sources of data are similar, and a spatial interaction model fit to the data reveals the relationships of different parameters over a range of movement time scales. Significant relationships between census migration data and fine temporal scale movement patterns exist, and results suggest that census data can be used to approximate certain features of movement patterns across multiple temporal scales, extending the utility of census-derived migration data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere52971
JournalPLoS One
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 9 2013

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Relocation
Censuses
Mobile phones
census data
human population
Kenya
infectious diseases
income
duration
extracts
Cell Phones
Information Storage and Retrieval
Proxy
Communicable Diseases
Population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Wesolowski, A., Buckee, C. O., Pindolia, D. K., Eagle, N., Smith, D. L., Garcia, A. J., & Tatem, A. J. (2013). The Use of Census Migration Data to Approximate Human Movement Patterns across Temporal Scales. PLoS One, 8(1), [e52971]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0052971

The Use of Census Migration Data to Approximate Human Movement Patterns across Temporal Scales. / Wesolowski, Amy; Buckee, Caroline O.; Pindolia, Deepa K.; Eagle, Nathan; Smith, David L.; Garcia, Andres J.; Tatem, Andrew J.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 8, No. 1, e52971, 09.01.2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wesolowski, A, Buckee, CO, Pindolia, DK, Eagle, N, Smith, DL, Garcia, AJ & Tatem, AJ 2013, 'The Use of Census Migration Data to Approximate Human Movement Patterns across Temporal Scales', PLoS One, vol. 8, no. 1, e52971. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0052971
Wesolowski, Amy ; Buckee, Caroline O. ; Pindolia, Deepa K. ; Eagle, Nathan ; Smith, David L. ; Garcia, Andres J. ; Tatem, Andrew J. / The Use of Census Migration Data to Approximate Human Movement Patterns across Temporal Scales. In: PLoS One. 2013 ; Vol. 8, No. 1.
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