Applied Population Laboratory


The Applied Population Laboratory (APL) has been an operational unit within the UW-Madison Department of Community and Environmental Sociology (formerly Rural Sociology) since the early 1960s. From the beginning the APL’s research and outreach programs focused on the implications of demographic change for communities, agencies, and the people of Wisconsin. Over the last several decades, the mission of the APL has been to carry forward a program of applied demographic research and outreach to translate social and economic data into useful information for Wisconsin’s citizens, policy makers, public agencies, private organizations and other state residents seeking to understand the demographic, social and economic changes taking place around them.

The Applied Population Laboratory is widely respected throughout the United States for its strong research contributions in small-area demography and population estimation and projections. APL faculty and staff contribute to the body of knowledge in the area of population issues through published articles and reports, and enhance the understanding of current demographic topics, methods and techniques by their active participation in professional meetings and committees. More directly, basic research conducted by APL staff and faculty forms the basis of curricula used for teaching and outreach in classrooms, workshops, and in-services. The APL permanent staff is comprised of demographers, urban planners, sociologists, a geographer, and a systems analyst.

Over the years, we have collaborated with a wide range of clients and partners including: local governments, state agencies, UW Cooperative Extension colleagues, non-profits and community-based organizations, and university faculty and researchers. The APL provides services in the broad areas of population estimates and projections, mapping and spatial analysis, community and regional information systems, web-based mapping and data access applications, and outreach and education on population and demographic research. In addition to consulting and direct client service, we train undergraduate and graduate students, conduct independent research on current demographic and geographic topics, and serve as a State Data Center for Wisconsin.

For more detailed information about the APL, please view our website: