Ecological regression

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Ecological regression is a statistical technique used especially in political science and history to estimate group voting behavior from aggregate data. For example, if counties have a known Democratic vote (in percentage) D, and a known percentage of Catholics, C, then run the linear regression of dependent variable D against independent variable C. This gives D = a + bC. When C = 1 (100% Catholic) this gives the estimated Democratic vote as a+b. When C = 0 (0% Catholic), this gives the estimated non-Catholic vote as a. For example, if the regression gives D = .22 + .45C, then the estimated Catholic vote is 67% Democratic and the non-Catholic vote is 22% Democratic. The technique has been often used in litigation brought under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to see how blacks and whites voted.[1]


  1. ^ Jacob S. Siegel (2002). Applied Demography: Applications to Business, Government, Law and Public Policy. Emerald Group. p. 557. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Brown, Philip J. and Clive D. Payne. " Aggregate Data, Ecological Regression, and Voting Transitions," Journal of the American Statistical Association (1986) 81#394 pp. 452-460 in JSTOR advanced techniques
  • King, Gary; Martin Abba Tanner; Ori Rosen (2004). Ecological Inference: New Methodological Strategies. Cambridge University Press. 
  • Kousser, J. Morgan. "Ecological Regression and the Analysis of past Politics," Journal of Interdisciplinary History (1973) 4#2 pp. 237-262 in JSTOR, with guide to the literature

See also[edit]