Applied Population Laboratory

It has been an eventful year for the Applied Population Laboratory. Over the last year the APL bid farewell to Richelle Winkler who took a tenure track position at Michigan Tech University and welcomed David Egan-Robertson. David came to the APL from the Wisconsin Department of Administration where he previously worked as the state demographer. In April, Bill Buckingham completed his dissertation and received a Ph.D. in Environment and Resources from UW-Madison.

Much of our outreach and Extension work continues to focus on analyzing and translating still-fresh data from the 2010 Census and the American Community Survey. We have examined how Wisconsin’s population has changed over the last ten years with particular attention to population redistribution, age structure, race and ethnicity, household and family composition, and the impacts of the economic downturn on income, employment and poverty. We have packaged the results in briefs, press releases, and numerous presentations to state and local organizations. In the coming months, we plan to compile some of our work into a series of “chartbooks” showing visual depictions of data on the general population of the state, the Latino population, and the Hmong population. Our efforts to “democratize” data also led to development of innovative tools for mapping and analyzing data and an all-in-one data portal called GetFacts (

On the research front, APL staff have been working on innovative approaches that inject socio-demographic context, data and analysis into research on environmental and natural resources issues. Most recently, we have been developing and analyzing socio-demographic attributes for 28 estuarine reserves that are part of a national system to evaluate their vulnerability to climate change. Using watersheds as “containers,” we developed a technique to interpolate data from the 2010 Census and the American Community Survey and then conducted a social vulnerability analysis for each reserve. Combined with biophysical data on climate for each reserve, the social vulnerability “score” will help understand the sensitivity of the reserve system to changes in climate or particular climate hazards such as sea level rise or hurricanes. The research will culminate in a report that will be useful to managers of individual reserves and to the national management of the reserve system. It will also point the direction for future work on climate change that blends social and biophysical approaches. As the project is completed, we will post information about how to access the report and other results new on our website. In the meantime, we invite you to visit us at to learn about other outreach and research projects in the Applied Population Laboratory.

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