• Night Lights

    Measurements of economic growth often fall short for developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and are rarely calculated at all for cities throughout the world. In a new working paper, three Brown University economists suggest a way to improve GDP estimates for such areas by using images of nighttime lights as seen from outer space.

  • LTDB - Following Neighborhoods over Time

    The Longitudinal Tract Data Base estimates population characteristics for constant small areas from 1970 through 2010, based on census tract boundaries in 2010.  These data can also be viewed in a web-based map or downloaded.

  • Urban Transformation in South Africa

    With support from the National Science Foundation (grant #0527667) in the US, Patrick Heller (the principal investigator) and other researchers at Brown University as well as in South Africa have been examining urban transformation in South African cities since the end of apartheid. This research uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data to map spatial changes in infrastructure and demographics. 

  • Rio/São Paulo Project

    The Rio/São Paulo Project is one component of research on Brazil being conducted by Brown social scientists. It is a study of spatial inequalities in two major Brazilian cities in 2000 and 2010, led by sociologist John Logan in collaboration with colleagues in Brazil and Paris.

    Data sets at the scale of Setores Censitarios and Areas de Ponderacao will be available soon for download from this site, along with shape files and a web-based GIS map system to visualize these data.


  • Hurricane Katrina Project

    The Hurricane Katrina Project examines the impacts of hurricanes on the Gulf Coast.  It began in response to the specific case of New Orleans’ flooding in 2005 and efforts to understand who was affected and what neighborhoods were able to rebuild.  Since then it has evolved into a broader study of the Gulf Coast region in the decades since 1950.  Major participants in this project have include John Logan, Zengwang Xu (now at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), and Sukriti Issar (now at Sciences Po in Paris).  

  • Diversity and Disparities

    Diversity and Disparities is a compendium of projects based on more contemporary data.  It began as the Census 2000 Project at the University at Albany and then was supported by the Russell Sage Foundation and Brown University as the US2010 Project.  It offers data and reports on urban inequalities and residential segregation in the period 1940 through the present, and also examines trends in school segregation. Major activities include:

  • Linking New Yorkers over Decades

    This project sought to link people and their family members over time between 1880 and 1920.  It began with samples of 4678 New Yorkers and 6650 Chicagoans in 1920, both men and women.  About half of these were traced to 1900, and many were found (or their parents were found) in 1880.  Analysis of these data is just beginning.  In a new project we plan to track them and their children forwards to 1930 and 1940.  Here we show information about our initial pilot study in New York where we tested the feasibility of finding both men and women selected from the 1920 census in 1900.

  • Map USA

    A web-based GIS system that provides data at the level of counties and census tracts for the decades 1940-2010.  Data can be visualized on-line or downloaded for additional analysis.