A Method to Construct Geographical Crosswalks with an Application to US Counties since 1790
Empirical researchers often have to map data provided for a "reporting" spatial unit, say counties in 1900, to a "reference" one, say, counties in 2010. We discuss a general method to create such crosswalks: computing the share of the area of each reporting unit nested in a given reference unit. Using these shares, data can be re-aggregated from the reporting to the reference units. We apply the method to construct a crosswalk for US county-level data since 1790 to present-day counties or commuting zones. We also provide the code to generate other crosswalks given maps of reporting and reference units.