# Using Buffer areas to calculate population in ArcGIS Desktop?

I'm trying to figure out a process in ArcMap that will be able to analyze the approximate number of people living near transit stations. I'm eventually going to turn this into a Python script, but I'm trying to figure this out manually in ArcMap first since my programming skills are trash. Basically, I have a shapefile of census tracts in a city that contain population data, and I also have a shapefile containing point locations of light rail stations. I want to find out how many people live within a half mile radius of each stop.

What I've done so far:

1. Added the shapefiles to the map
2. Clipped the light rail stations to the city boundary (I'm limiting my work to just the city and not the surrounding counties to make things simpler).
3. Used buffer to create a feature class that puts a 0.5 mile radius around each rail station.

Could I use intersect to go from here?

I'm really not sure how I would go about the rest of this process.

• Your Census data only has total population per block, yes? Calculate the areas of the blocks and generate a value for people/unit measure. Clip your blocks based on your buffer for station one. Recalculate the number of people in the buffered area based on the new size of the buffer. Repeat for station 2. Bad programming skills? You may have an easier time with the Modelbuilder and iterators. desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/10.3/analyze/modelbuilder/…
– GBG
Apr 27, 2018 at 21:48
• Calculate the population density into a new field as people per unit area. Then clip your census blocks with your buffers. In a new field multiply the density with the clipped area. This will give you the population for each part. Finally dissolve this by using your station buffer IDs as keeping the newly populated population field as a statistic field by SUM operator. Apr 28, 2018 at 3:10