Wenquan Zhang is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at University of Wisconsin Whitewater. He is currently working on the project:
Improving Estimates for Post-2000 Small Area Data
Social scientists are interested in characterizing demographic composition and socioeconomic conditions of neighborhoods, documenting trends in the neighborhood characteristics over time, and studying the consequences of living in segregated neighborhoods. However, this research is hindered by the problem of small area estimation (SAE). The SAE problem has increased due to the reduced sample sizes in the American Community Survey (ACS) compared to the decennial census long-form data.
This project concerns two aspects of the SAE problem. One concern is the large confidence intervals around point estimates of characteristics of individual tracts. Another concern, less understood, is the estimates of variation across tracts. These can be thought of as spatial inequality or segregation. This study will examine alternative procedures that directly estimate inter-tract variation from the original person or household-level sample data.
This study will use publicly available Census microdata from 1940 (with a 100% sample) and confidential Census data from 2000 and beyond to assess the bias and reliability of alternative models.
I am part of a research team with researchers from University of Michigan, Brown University, and the Census Bureau.