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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Research Group: WorldPop

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Detailed and regularly updated data on population numbers and characteristics are a prerequisite for effective governance, efficient allocation of resources and ensuring that no one is left behind. WorldPop develops and implements open, robust and peer-reviewed geospatial methods for mapping population distributions, demographics and dynamics, with a principle focus on low and middle income countries.

World pop logo

The WorldPop group works to ensure that everyone is mapped and counted in decision making. Initiated in 2005, WorldPop develops geospatial integration methods for the production of spatially detailed demographic datasets in resource poor settings, with academic publication of outputs in journals such as Nature, Science and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The group is a producer of open spatial demographic datasets used by governments, international agencies, academia, NGOs and the private sector. Close collaboration with UN agencies and national statistical offices in low/middle income countries is a primary focus, ensuring that research approaches are designed to maximise uptake and impact, with local capacity strengthening a priority.

Major focus areas for development and implementation cover population distributions, demographics and dynamics in resource-poor settings. The integration of traditional demographic datasets from censuses and surveys with satellite, cellphone and other spatial datasets is undertaken in geostatistical modelling frameworks. Outputs include high resolution maps of population counts, age/sex structures, births, pregnancies, poverty, reproductive, maternal and newborn health indicators, access to services, and vaccination coverage, among other metrics. Moreover, modelling frameworks for the development of subnational migration flows, urban change and disease spread are developed.

WorldPop is made up of 30+ members of staff, including demographers, geographers, ecologists, statisticians, epidemiologists and computer scientists. Principal funders and collaborators include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UK Department for International Development, the World Bank, the Wellcome Trust, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO and the Clinton Health Access Initiative.

Contact Details

Professor Andy Tatem, WorldPop Director, A.J.Tatem@soton.ac.uk

Mapping Births
Mapping Births
Bangkok population density
Bangkok population density
International migration flows
International migration flows

Key Facts

  • Develops peer-reviewed population mapping methods
  • Open spatial demographic data producer
  • Outputs used by governments, UN agencies, industry
  • 30+ members of staff
  • Funders include Gates Foundation, UN, World Bank

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