Building a dynamic spatial microsimulation model for Ireland

Dimitris Ballas, Graham Philip Clarke, Emily Wiemers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Microsimulation describes economic and social events by modelling the behaviour of individual agents. These models have proved useful in evaluating the impact of policy changes at the micro-level. Spatial microsimulation models contain geographical information and allow for a regional or local approach to policy analysis. This paper builds on previous work on urban systems by employing similar modelling techniques for the analysis of rural areas. It describes the development of the SMILE (Simulation Model for the Irish Local Economy) model. SMILE is a dynamic spatial microsimulation model designed to analyse the impact of policy change and economic development on rural areas in Ireland. At its core, SMILE is a model of population. It simulates the basic components of population change, fertility, mortality and internal migration, at a small area level. This paper describes the method for projecting population change at the sub-county level. Results from the 1991 and 1996 dynamic model at county level are discussed, and a brief comparison is made with other methods. Finally, the features that distinguish microsimulation models from other population projection models are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-172
Number of pages16
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Geographical microsimulation
  • Small area population forecasting
  • Small area population microdata

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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