Standard Article

Small area estimation

Ecological Statistics

  1. Partha Lahiri

Published Online: 15 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.vas028.pub2

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Lahiri, P. 2013. Small area estimation. Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 5.

Author Information

  1. University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JAN 2013


Many programs that monitor the environment provide nationwide environmental statistics for large geographical areas. There is, however, a growing need to obtain these statistics for small geographical areas where the data are too sparse to produce reliable estimates. This article reviews how empirical Bayes and hierarchical Bayes methods can be implemented using both area level and unit level hierarchical models that combine information from different sources to produce reliable environment-related statistics for small areas. This article also discusses methodologies for estimating the uncertainty of the derived estimates and the related issues concerning model building.


  • Bayes;
  • empirical Bayes;
  • hierarchical models;
  • mixed models;
  • monitoring