Nighttime lights and population changes in Europe 1992–2012
Nighttime satellite photographs of Earth reveal the location of lighting and provide a unique view of the extent of human settlement. Nighttime lights have been shown to correlate with economic development and population but little research has been done on the link between nighttime lights and population change over time. We explore whether population decline is coupled with decline in lighted area and how the age structure of the population and GDP are reflected in nighttime lights. We examine Europe between the period of 1992 and 2012 using a Geographic Information System and regression analysis. The results suggest that population decline is not coupled with decline in lighted area. Instead, human settlement extent is more closely related to the age structure of the population and to GDP. We conclude that declining populations will not necessarily lead to reductions in the extent of land development.
KeywordsNighttime lights Demographic transition Population decline Human settlement extent
The authors wish to thank the Faculty of Social Science, Lund University for support and our anonymous referees for valuable comments on the manuscript.
- Baugh, K.E., C.D. Elvidge, T. Ghosh, and D. Ziskin. 2010. Population detection profiles of DMSP-OLS night-time imagery by regions of the world. In Asia-Pacific Advanced Network, 30th Asia-Pacific Advanced Network Meeting, Hanoi, Vietnam, 9–13 August 2010. Hanoi: Asia-Pacific Advanced Network.Google Scholar
- Davis, K. 1965. The urbanization of the human population. In The City Reader, 5th ed., ed. R.T. LeGates and F. Stout, 20–30. Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Doll, C.N.H. 2010a. Population detection profiles of DMSP-OLS night-time imagery by regions of the world. In 30th Asia-Pacific Advanced Network Meeting, Hanoi, Vietnam, 9–13 August 2010. Hanoi: Asia-Pacific Advanced Network.Google Scholar
- Doll, C.N.H., 2010b. Development of a 2009 stable lights product using DMSP-OLS. In Asia-Pacific Advanced Network, 30th Asia-Pacific Advanced Network Meeting, Hanoi, Vietnam, 9–13 August 2010. Hanoi: Asia-Pacific Advanced Network.Google Scholar
- Elvidge, C.D., V.R. Hobson, I.L. Nelson, J.M. Safran, B.T. Tuttle, K.E. Baugh, and J.B. Dietz. 2002. Global observation of urban areas based on nocturnal lighting. LUCC Newsletter 8: 10–12.Google Scholar
- Elvidge, C.D., J. Safran, I.L. Nelson, B.T. Tuttle, V.R. Hobson, K.E. Baugh, J.B. Dietz, and E.H. Erwin. 2004. Area and positional accuracy of DMSP nighttime lights data. In Remote Sensing and GIS Accuracy Assessment, ed. R.S. Lunetta, and J.G. Lyon, 281–292. Boca Raton: CRC Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Elvidge, C.D., F.-C. Hsu, K.E. Baugh, and T. Ghosh. 2013. National trends in satellite observed lighting: 1992−2012. In Global urban monitoring and assessment through Earth observation, ed. Q. Weng, 97–120. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
- Ghosh, T., R.L. Powell, C.D. Elvidge, K.E. Baugh, P.C. Sutton, and S. Anderson. 2010. Shedding light on the global distribution of economic activity. The Open Geography Journal 3: 148–161.Google Scholar
- Lesthaeghe, R. 2011. The “second demographic transition”: A conceptual map for the understanding of late modern demographic developments in fertility and family formation. Historical Social Research 36: 179–218.Google Scholar
- NOAA-NGDC. 2014a. Version 4 DMSP-OLS nighttime lights time series. Retrieved December 14, 2013, from http://ngdc.noaa.gov/eog/dmsp/downloadV4composites.html.
- NOAA-NGDC. 2014b. Version 4 DMSP-OLS nighttime lights time series. Retrieved March 17, 2014, from http://ngdc.noaa.gov/eog/gcv4_readme.txt.
- Pozzi, F., C. Small, and G. Yetman. 2002. Modeling the distribution of human population with night-time satellite imagery and gridded population of the world. In Pecora 15/Land Satellite Information IV/ISPRS Commission I/FIEOS, Pecora 15/Land Satellite Information IV/ISPRS Commission I/FIEOS 2002 Conference, Denver, CO, 10–15 November 2002. Denver: Pecora 15/Land Satellite Information IV/ISPRS Commission I/FIEOS.Google Scholar
- Sutton, P., D. Roberts, C.D. Elvidge, and H. Melj. 1997. A comparison of nighttime satellite imagery and population density for the continental United States. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing 63: 1303–1313.Google Scholar
- The World Bank Group. 2014. World Development Indicators. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from http://databank.worldbank.org/data/views/variableselection/selectvariables.aspx?source=world-development-indicators.
- United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. 2013. World population prospects: The 2012 revision, volume II, Demographic profiles (ST/ESA/SER.A/345) New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
- van de Kaa, D. J. 2002. The idea of a second demographic transition in industrialized countries. In National Institute of Population and Social Security, 6th Welfare Policy Seminar. Tokyo, Japan, 29 January 2002.Google Scholar
- van den Berg, L., R. Drewett, L.H. Klaasen, A. Rossi, and C.H.T. Vijverberg. 1982. Urban Europe, vol. I: A study of growth and decline. Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
- Weeks, J.R. 2008. Population: An introduction to concepts and issues, 10th ed. Belmont: Thomson Higher Education.Google Scholar