- Volume 14 Issue 6
Although a growing number of studies have commonly used a simple areal weighting interpolation method to quantify demographic characteristics of impacted areas in environmental equity analysis, the results obtained are inevitably imprecise because of the method's unrealistic assumption that population is evenly distributed within a census enumeration unit. Two alternative areal interpolation methods such as intelligent areal weighting and regression methods can account for the distributional biases in the estimation of impacted populations by making use of additional information about the geographic distribution of population. This research explores five areal interpolation methods for estimating the population characteristics of impacted areas in environmental equity analysis and evaluates the sensitivity of the outcomes of environmental equity analysis to areal interpolation methods. This study used GIS techniques to allow areal interpolation to be informed by the distribution of land cover types, as inferred from a satellite image. in both the source and target units. Independent samples t-test statistics were measured to verify the environmental equity hypothesis while coefficients of variation were calculated to compare the relative variability and consistency in the socioeconomic characteristics of populations at risk over different areal interpolation methods. Results show that the outcomes of environmental equity analysis in the study area are not sensitive to the areal interpolation methods used in estimating affected populations, but the population estimates within the impacted areas are largely variable as different areal interpolation methods are used. This implies that the use of different areal interpolation methods may to some degree alter the statistical results of environmental equity analysis.