Including the group quarters population in the US synthesized population database
In 2005, RTI International researchers developed methods to generate synthesized population data on US households for the US Synthesized Population Database. These data are used in agent-based modeling, which simulates large-scale social networks to test how changes in the behaviors of individuals affect the overall network. Group quarters are residences where individuals live in close proximity and interact frequently. Although the Synthesized Population Database represents the population living in households, data for the nation’s group quarters residents are not easily quantified because of US Census Bureau reporting methods designed to protect individuals’ privacy.
Including group quarters population data can be an important factor in agent-based modeling because the number of residents and the frequency of their interactions are variables that directly affect modeling results. Particularly with infectious disease modeling, the increased frequency of agent interaction may increase the probability of infectious disease transmission between individuals and the probability of disease outbreaks.
This report reviews our methods to synthesize data on group quarters residents to match US Census Bureau data. Our goal in developing the Group Quarters Population Database was to enable its use with RTI’s US Synthesized Population Database in the Modeling of Infectious Diseases Agent Study.