What do street names tell us? The 'city-text' as socio-cultural data

Daniel Oto Peralias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
225 Downloads (Pure)


This paper proposes the use of street names as a source of geographic-specific cultural data for quantitative analysis in social sciences. Street names reflect the cumulative commemorative decisions of municipalities and, as such, can be used as proxies for their social and cultural characteristics, which is particularly useful given the scarcity of cultural data at the local level. The utility of street names as a data source is illustrated through the study of religiosity and local economic development. The street-name indicator of religiosity is shown to be strongly correlated with the cultural factor it is supposed to capture, and appears to be negatively related to economic development at the local level. Finally, the article explores a range of other potential empirical applications to important topics in social sciences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-211
JournalJournal of Economic Geography
Issue number1
Early online date23 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Street names
  • City-text
  • quantitative analysis
  • Culture
  • Religiosity
  • Local-level analysis
  • Local economic development


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