Building a large synthetic population from Australian census data

08/18/2020
by   Bhagya N. Wickramasinghe, et al.
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We present work on creating a synthetic population from census data for Australia, applied to the greater Melbourne region. We use a sample-free approach to population synthesis that does not rely on a disaggregate sample from the original population. The inputs for our algorithm are joint marginal distributions from census of desired person-level and household-level attributes, and outputs are a set of comma-separated-value (.csv) files containing the full synthetic population of unique individuals in households; with age, gender, relationship status, household type, and size, matched to census data. Our algorithm is efficient in that it can create the synthetic population for Melbourne comprising 4.5 million persons in 1.8 million households within three minutes on a modern computer. Code for the algorithm is hosted on GitHub.

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