Stratified Sampling of Neighborhood Sections for Population Estimation: A Case Study of Bo City, Sierra Leone

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There is a need for better estimators of population size in places that have undergone rapid growth and where collection of census data is difficult. We explored simulated estimates of urban population based on survey data from Bo, Sierra Leone, using two approaches: (1) stratified sampling from across 20 neighborhoods and (2) stratified single-stage cluster sampling of only four randomly-sampled neighborhoods. The stratification variables evaluated were (a) occupants per individual residence, (b) occupants per neighborhood, and (c) residential structures per neighborhood. For method (1), stratification variable (a) yielded the most accurate re-estimate of the current total population. Stratification variable (c), which can be estimated from aerial photography and zoning type verification, and variable (b), which could be ascertained by surveying a limited number of households, increased the accuracy of method (2). Small household-level surveys with appropriate sampling methods can yield reasonably accurate estimations of urban populations.

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Copyright © 2015, PLOS ONE.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0132850.s001