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Nightlight, landcover and buildings: understanding intracity socioeconomic differences


  • García-Suaza, Andres

    (Facultad de Economía Universidad del Rosario)

  • Varela, Daniela

    (Universidad del Rosario)


Monitoring patterns of segregation and inequality at small area geographic levels is extremely costly. However, the increased availability of data through nontraditional sources such as satellite imagery facilitates this task. This paper assess the relevance of data from nightlight and day-time satellite imagery as well as building footprints and localization of points of interest for mapping variability in socioeconomic outcomes, i.e., household income, labor formality, life quality perception and household informality. The outcomes are computed at a granular level by combining census data, survey data, and small area estimation. The results reveal that non traditional sources are important to predict spatial differences socio-economic outcomes. Furthermore, the combination of all sources creates complementarities that enable a more accurate spatial distribution of the studied variables.

Suggested Citation

  • García-Suaza, Andres & Varela, Daniela, 2024. "Nightlight, landcover and buildings: understanding intracity socioeconomic differences," Documentos de Trabajo 21025, Universidad del Rosario.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000092:021025

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Remote sensing; Satellite imagery; nightlights; points of interest; spatial segregation; urban footprints; informal housing.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • E26 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Informal Economy; Underground Economy
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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