Zip codes and spatial analysis: Problems and prospects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The use of zip codes for spatial, demographic, and socio-economic analysis is growing. As of August 2005, 193 articles were indexed by "zip code" in the Social Sciences Citation Index, while 386 were indexed in PubMed. All of these articles were published since 1989. While the treatment of zip codes as units of analysis varies widely in epidemiology, marketing, geography, and the socio-economic planning sciences, there are a number of common "errors" that could be avoided if analysts retained a better understanding of zip code characteristics. The purpose of this paper is to outline the problems and prospects of utilizing zip codes for spatial analysis. Issues associated with spatial contiguity, data aggregation, and boundary definitions are addressed. Results suggest that, although zip codes are not the most robust spatial units of analysis available, they retain a modest degree of utility for specialized applications. Recommendations for future research regarding zip codes and their use in socio-economic applications are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-149
Number of pages21
JournalSocio-Economic Planning Sciences
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Spatial Analysis
spatial analysis
economic planning
epidemiology
aggregation
economics
Economics
marketing
Contiguity
social science
Economic Analysis
Data Aggregation
geography
Unit
Geography
Citations
Epidemiology
Social Sciences
economic analysis
code

Keywords

  • GIS
  • Spatial analysis
  • Zip code

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Economics and Econometrics

Cite this

Zip codes and spatial analysis : Problems and prospects. / Grubesic, Anthony.

In: Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Vol. 42, No. 2, 06.2008, p. 129-149.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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