Guangqing Chi's website    


  Overview of My Research Program

My program of research seeks to examine the interactions between human population and the built and natural environment upon which we all depend (see my research framework here).  I have been pursuing this objective through two interwoven areas of research: climate change, land use, and community resilience; and critical infrastructure/transportation, population change, and population health within the smart cities framework. The two areas of research build upon my methodological strengths in computational and spatial analysis and spatial demography.


Chi, Guangqing and Stephen J. Ventura. 2011. "An Integrated Framework of Population Change: Influential Factors, Spatial Dynamics, and Temporal Variation." Growth and Change 42(4): 549–570. [link] [presentation]


Climate Change, Land Use, and Community Resilience

My research interest in environmental demography is focused on community vulnerability and resilience as a consequence of climate change, land use and land cover change, natural resources, and demographic changes. My current research exmaines left-behind children in Kyrgyzstan in the context of climate change, international migration, and remittance. My previous research has revisited the migration effects of natural amenities by 1) placing rural development and population change in their social, economic, and political settings, and 2) investigating the spatial variations of their relationships along the urban-rural continuum (for a summary of the research, please click here).

I have also been developing a land developability index in relation to population dynamics in collaboration with Derrick Ho. Land developability is a measure of land available and suitable for future conversion and development in a geographic entity. It is a large-scale data-driven webGIS project ( By utilizing remote sensing imagery and spatial analysis methods, weI identified developable lands for each 90 by 90 meter pixel in the continental U.S. and developed a land developability index at the state, county, and census tract levels.


Chi, Guangqing and Hung Chak Ho. 2018. "Population Stress: A Spatiotemporal Analysis of Population Change and Land Development at the County Level in the Continental United States, 2000–2010." Land Use Policy 70(1): 128–137. [link1][link2]

Kasu, Bishal, Ernesto Castañeda, and Guangqing Chi. 2018. "Remittance-driven Migration in spite of Microfinance? The Case of Nepalese Households." In: Immigration and Categorical Inequality: Migration to the City and the Birth of Race and Ethnicity, pp. 171–196, edited by Ernesto Castañeda. New York: Routledge.

Clement, Matthew, Guangqing Chi, and Derrick Ho. 2015. "Urbanization and Land Use Change: A Human Ecology of Deforestation Across the United States, 2001–2006." Sociological Inquiry 85(4):628–653. [link]

Chi, Guangqing and David W. Marcouiller. 2013. "In-Migration to Remote Rural Regions: The Relative Impacts of Natural Amenities and Land Developability." Landscape and Urban Planning 117(1): 22–31. [link] [presentation]

Chi, Guangqing and David W. Marcouiller. 2013. "Natural Amenities and Their Effects on Migration along the Urban-Rural Continuum." The Annals of Regional Science 50(3): 861–883. [link] [presentation]

Chen, Xinxiang and Guangqing Chi. 2012. "Natural Beauty, Money, and Talent Distribution: A Local-Level Panel Data Analysis." Population Research and Policy Review 31(5): 665–681. [link]

Chi, Guangqing and David W. Marcouiller. 2012. "Recreational Homes and Migration to Remote Amenity-Rich Areas." Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy 42(1): 47–60. [link] [presentation]

Chi, Guangqing and David W. Marcouiller. 2011. "Isolating the Effect of Natural Amenities on Population Change at the Local Level." Regional Studies 45(4): 491–505. [link] [presentation]

Parisi, Domenico, Steven M. Grice, Guangqing Chi, and Jed Pressgrove. 2011. "Poverty, Work, and the Local Environment: TANF and EITC." In: Economic Restructuring and Family Well-Being in Rural America, pp. 320–335, edited by Ann Tickameyer and Kristin Smith. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Chi, Guangqing. 2010. "Land Developability: Developing an Index of Land Use and Development for Population Research." Journal of Maps 2010: 609–617. [link] [presentation]

Chi, Guangqing and David W. Marcouiller. 2009. "Rethinking the Migration Effects of Natural Amenities: Part I." Canadian Journal of Regional Science 32(3): 331–348. [link]

Chi, Guangqing and David W. Marcouiller. 2009. "Rethinking the Migration Effects of Natural Amenities: Part II." Canadian Journal of Regional Science 32(3): 349–360. [link]


Critical Infrastructure/Transportation, Population Change, and Population Health

My research in this area is focused on the impacts of transportation and neighborhood infrastructure on population change and public health under the framework of smart cities. My research has examined the causality between highway construction and population change, highway and airport impacts on population change along the urban-rural continuum, highway construction effects on urban racial redistribution, neighborhood built environment and population health, transportation accessibility, and food environment and accessibility.


Li, Chuo, Guangqing Chi, and Robert Jackson. Accepted. "Neighborhood Built Environment and Walking Behaviors: Evidence from the Rural American South." Indoor and Built Environment. [link]

Chen, Xinxiang, Guanghua Chi, and Guangqing Chi. Accepted. "Do Airports Boost Economic Development by Attracting Talent? An Empirical Investigation at the Sub-County Level." Social Science Quarterly. [link]

Li, Chuo, Guangqing Chi, and Robert Jackson. 2015. "Perceptions and Barriers to Walking in the Rural American South: The Influence of the Neighborhood Built Environment on Pedestrian Behaviors." Urban Design International 20(4):255–273. [link]

Chi, Guangqing and Yanbing Zheng. 2013. "Estimating Transport Footprint along Highways at Local Levels: A Combination of Network Analysis and Kriging Methods." International Journal of Sustainable Transportation 7(3): 261–273. [link][poster]

Chi, Guangqing. 2012. "The Impacts of Transport Accessibility on Population Change across Rural, Suburban, and Urban Areas: A Case Study of Wisconsin at Subcounty Levels." Urban Studies 49(12): 2711–2731. [link] [presentation] [poster]

Chi, Guangqing and Domenico Parisi. 2011. "Highway Expansion Effects on Urban Racial Redistribution in the Post-Civil-Rights Period." Public Works Management and Policy 16(1): 40–58. [link] [presentation]

Chi, Guangqing. 2010. "The Impacts of Highway Expansion on Population Change: An Integrated Spatial Approach." Rural Sociology 75(1): 58–89. [link] [presentation]

Chi, Guangqing. 2007. "Highway Effects on Economic and Population Growth: Regional Economic Explanation." In: Encyclopedia of Earth, edited by Cutler J. Cleveland. Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment.

Chi, Guangqing, Paul R. Voss, and Steven C. Deller. 2006. "Rethinking Highway Effects on Population Change." Public Works Management and Policy 11(1): 18–32. [link] [presentation]

Voss, Paul R. and Guangqing Chi. 2006. "Highways and Population Change." Rural Sociology 71(1):33–58. [link] [presentation]

Chi, Guangqing and Brian Stone, Jr. 2005. "Sustainable Transport Planning: Estimating the Ecological Footprint of Vehicle Travel in Future Years." Journal of Urban Planning and Development 131(3):170–180. [link]

Chi, Guangqing. 2014. "Social and Economic Impacts of Interstate Highway System" and "The Role of Transportation in Economic Development." In: Encyclopedia of Transportation: Social Science and Policy, edited by Mark Garrett and J. Geoffrey Golson. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

My research in transportation and health demography has investigated the role that gasoline prices play in reducing traffic crashes (for a summary of the research, please click here). The research has also been highlighted over 2,000 times by numerous domestic and international news agencies, websites, and blogs as of December 2011. These news media includes National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Weather Channel, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, VOAnews, KSFY ABC, Fox 5 News New York, Money, and others. My research in transportation has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Center for Intermodal Transportation of the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mississippi Highway Patrol, and Mississippi Office of Safety.


Chi, Guangqing and Jamie Boydstun. 2017. "Gasoline Price Changes and Residential Relocation: Preliminary Findings from the American Housing Survey, 1996–2008." Journal of Planning Education and Research 37(3): 334–346. [presentation] [poster] [link]

Chi, Guangqing, Willie Brown, Xiang Zhang, and Yanbing Zheng. 2015. "Higher Gasoline Prices Mean Safer Roads, But How Long Does it Take?" American Journal of Public Health 105(8): 119–125. [link]

Chi, Guangqing, Jeremy R. Porter, Arthur G. Cosby, and David Levinson. 2013. "The Impact of Gasoline Price Changes on Traffic Safety: A Time Geography Explanation." Journal of Transport Geography 28(1): 1–11. [link] [poster]

Chi, Guangqing, Mohammed A. Quddus, Arthur Huang, and David Levinson. 2013. "Gasoline Prices Effects on Traffic Safety in Urban and Rural Areas: Evidence from Minnesota, 1998–2007."Safety Science 59(1): 154–162. [link] [poster]

Robertson, Angela A., Sheena Gardner, Xiaohe Xu, Guangqing Chi, and D. Lee McCluskey. 2013. "Mississippi’s DUI Offender Intervention: 40 Years of Programming and Research." Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 52(2): 138–155. [link]

Chi, Guangqing, Timothy E. McClure, and David B. Brown. 2012. "Gasoline Prices and Traffic Crashes in Alabama, 1999–2009." Traffic Injury Prevention 13(5): 476–484. [link]

Chi, Guangqing, Xuan Zhou, Timothy E. McClure, Paul A. Gilbert, Arthur G. Cosby, Li Zhang, Angela A. Robertson, and David Levinson. 2011. "Gasoline Prices and Their Relationship to Drunk-Driving Crashes." Accident Analysis and Prevention 43(1): 194–203. [link] [poster]

Chi, Guangqing, Arthur G. Cosby, Mohammed A. Quddus, Paul A. Gilbert, and David Levinson. 2010. "Gasoline Prices and Traffic Safety in Mississippi." Journal of Safety Research 41(6): 493–500. [link] [poster]


Computational and Spatial Analysis

Population Estimation and Forecasting: I have also developed an expertise in population estimation and forecasting. In particular, I proposed a knowledge-based spatio-temporal econometric approach to population forecasting at subcounty levels. This approach considers the spatio-temporal interactions between population change and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, land use, transportation accessibility, legal constraints, and geophysical and environmental factors by employing spatial statistics, GIS, and remote sensing software. This endeavor attempts to meet policy demands (such as the “Smart Growth” law and comprehensive planning) for better small-area population estimation and forecasting techniques; help communities understand demographic challenges of deteriorating physical infrastructure, increasing income gap, threats to environmental quality and natural amenities, housing shortages, and traffic congestion; look at the variety of results in the “what-if” scenarios; and suggest strategies to solve potential development problems. This line of research has been awarded an E. Walter Terrie Award for best paper in State and Local Demography by the Southern Demographic Association.


Chi, Guangqing and Donghui Wang. Accepted. "Population Projection Accuracy: The Impacts of Sociodemographics, Accessibility, Land Use, and Neighbor Characteristics." Population, Space and Place.

Chi, Guangqing. 2017. Demographic Forecasting and Future Interstate Highway System Demands. The National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. [powerpoint]

Chi, Guangqing and Donghui Wang*. 2016. "Small-Area Population Forecasting: A Geographically Weighted Regression Approach." In: The Frontiers of Applied Demography, pp. 449–471, edited by David Swanson. New York: Springer. [link]

Chi, Guangqing and Paul R. Voss. 2011. "Small-Area Population Forecasting: Borrowing Strength across Space and Time." Population, Space and Place 17(5): 505–520. [link] [presentation]

Chi, Guangqing, Xuan Zhou, and Paul R. Voss. 2011. "Small-Area Population Forecasting in an Urban Setting: A Spatial Regression Approach." Journal of Population Research 28(2):185–201. [link]

Chi, Guangqing. 2009. "Can Knowledge Improve Population Forecasts at Subcounty Levels?" Demography 46(2): 405–427. [link1] [link2] [presentation]


Spatial Demography: The above four areas of research build upon my methodological strengths in spatial statistics, geographic information techniques, and spatial demography. I have accumulated knowledge and experience in applying spatial statistics and geographic information techniques to demographic analysis. My expertise in spatial statistics includes spatial econometric modeling, hierarchical linear modeling, and geostatistics. I am proficient in these methods with R, GeoDa, SpaceStat, and HLM. GIS acts as the platform and the principal tool in my research. My strength in GIS is in its applications to spatially referenced data analysis. I currently serve as Director of the Computation and Spatial Analysis Core of the Social Science Research Institute and the Population Research Institute, which promotes and enhances social science and population research at Penn State by assisting researchers in spatial statistics and analysis, data support, programming and statistical analysis, Federal Statistical Research Data Center microdata access and analysis, and Big Data for population research.

I am also working on a book manuscript entitled “Spatial Regression Models for Social Scientists” with my co-author Jun Zhu. The past few decades have seen rapid development in spatial regression methods, which have been introduced in a great number of books and journal articles. However, when teaching spatial regression models and methods to social scientists, the authors had difficulty recommending a suitable textbook. Most of the existing textbooks are written for natural scientists or regional scientists and require that readers have a good understanding of advanced statistics and probability theory. These textbooks are either too technical for social scientists or are focused on only a few methods and exclude others. A textbook that provides a relatively comprehensive coverage of spatial regression methods for social scientists and introduces the methods in an easy-to-follow approach is much needed. Therefore, we have written a primer type of textbook for social scientists who would like a quick start to learning spatial regression methods. While the methods are many and the number keeps increasing, we have decided to focus on the methods that are commonly used by social scientists and are probably most useful to them. These methods include exploratory spatial data analysis, methods dealing with spatial dependence, methods dealing with spatial heterogeneity, advanced spatial regression models, and other methods that are used in other fields and can be useful for social science research.


Wang, Donghui and Guangqing Chi. 2017. "Different Places, Different Stories: A Study of Spatial Heterogeneity of County-Level Fertility in China." Demographic Research 37: 493–526. [link]

Pinto, Casey, Lorah D. Dorn, Vernon M. Chinchilli, Ping Du, and Guangqing Chi. 2017. "Rural Counties Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Rates in Pennsylvania Among Adolescents and Young Adults." Annals of Epidemiology 27(9): 606–610. [link]

Misra, Kaustav and Guangqing Chi. 2011. "Measuring Public School Competition from Private Schools: A Gravity-Based Index." Journal of Geographic Information System 3(4): 306–311. [link]

Chi, Guangqing and Stephen J. Ventura. 2011. "Population Change and Its Driving Factors in Rural, Suburban, and Urban Areas of Wisconsin, USA, 1970–2000." International Journal of Population Research 2011:1–14. [link]

Chi, Guangqing and Jun Zhu. 2008. "Spatial Regression Models for Demographic Analysis." Population Research and Policy Review 27(1): 17–42. [link]

Chi, Guangqing and Paul R. Voss. 2005. "Migration Decision-Making: A Hierarchical Regression Approach." Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy 35(2): 11–22. [link] [presentation]