SimBritain: a spatial microsimulation approach to population dynamics

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

June 1, 2005


In this paper we present an account of a 3-year research project that is aimed at dynamically simulating urban and regional populations in Britain. In the context of this project we are using data from the 1991 UK Census Small Area Statistics (SAS) and the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), in order to dynamically simulate the entire population of Britain into 2021 at the small area level. This paper discusses the structure, aims and objectives of SimBritain and presents some preliminary results. Firstly, alternative spatial microsimulation strategies are discussed and their advantages and drawbacks are outlined. Next, the difficulties in calibrating and validating dynamic microsimulation models such as SimBritain are highlighted and ways to tackle these difficulties are explored. The paper then presents some model outputs that highlight the geographical variation of a wide range of socio-economic variables through the 1990s. Moreover, in light of these outputs, the paper discusses the potential of SimBritain for policy analysis.

Published in

Population, Space and Place


Volume: 11 (1):13-34





Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest