Although it was announced optimistically that population censuses could be completed more accurately with space-age technology as early as 1983 (Brugioni 1983), an operational approach to extract population data accurately from remotely sensed imagery has yet to be developed. Previous research has established the usefulness of large-scale aerial photo­ graphs (1:40,000 and larger) for accurately estimating population in a small area by manually typing and counting the dwelling units, to which the appropriate household size per dwelling unit is applied (Watkins and Morrow-Jones 1985). This approach can produce population estimates with relative errors of less than ±10 per cent. However, such an approach is not satisfactory in a computer age when satellite sensor data in digital form are readily available. Also, population censuses should not only be limited to small areas, but should be applied to large regional estimates as well.