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A Bayesian hierarchical small-area population model accounting for data source specific methodologies from American Community Survey, Population Estimates Program, and Decennia

by   Emily N Peterson, et al.

Small area estimates of population are necessary for many epidemiological studies, yet their quality and accuracy are often not assessed. In the United States, small area estimates of population counts are published by the United States Census Bureau (USCB) in the form of the Decennial census counts, Intercensal population projections (PEP), and American Community Survey (ACS) estimates. Although there are significant relationships between these data sources, there are important contrasts in data collection and processing methodologies, such that each set of estimates may be subject to different sources and magnitudes of error. Additionally, these data sources do not report identical small area population counts due to post-survey adjustments specific to each data source. Resulting small area disease/mortality rates may differ depending on which data source is used for population counts (denominator data). To accurately capture annual small area population counts, and associated uncertainties, we present a Bayesian population model (B-Pop), which fuses information from all three USCB sources, accounting for data source specific methodologies and associated errors. The main features of our framework are: 1) a single model integrating multiple data sources, 2) accounting for data source specific data generating mechanisms, and specifically accounting for data source specific errors, and 3) prediction of estimates for years without USCB reported data. We focus our study on the 159 counties of Georgia, and produce estimates for years 2005-2021.


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